Listen to your readers: Gather insights on user needs

Listen to your readers: Gather insights on user needs

There are a lot of general tips and standards you can follow to help make your knowledge articles support your readers’ needs. Use simple language, good structures, helpful graphics, a style guide… All of these are great steps towards user-friendly articles. But there are some user needs that are hard to anticipate when you do not know your users well. What menu structure is most intuitive to them? What information do they need to look up most often? What expert vocabulary are they familiar with?

You can make assumptions on these things based on the content and your own role in the team. But there is a chance that you miss the mark. Then you run the risk of spending needless time making something unintuitive for your readers, which will cause frustration. Frustration you could easily avoid by getting in touch with your readers and learning more about their needs. Let’s take a look at how to gather insights on such needs.

Gather insights passively

The most low-effort way for you to gather insights on your users is to let them approach you with feedback. There are multiple ways you can do that, but not all will yield the results you might be looking for.

What stops users from giving you feedback?

First, just because you offer ways of gathering insights, you might still not get the input you are hoping for. This is because different hurdles are holding your users back:

Mental hurdles

Have you ever found information that seemed wrong or worth optimizing to you, but not reached out to someone that could make the adjustment? Subconsciously, the effort to go to the length of reaching out to the content creator can seem so big – and having to put yourself forward can seem so exhausting – that it holds us back from giving input. Often, the issue has to be truly relevant to us personally or have a very big impact on others for us to consider actually addressing it.

It can therefor help if you give incentive for reaching out. For example, gamification can help by awarding points and expert titles to users that participate a lot. Or public acknowledgement of valuable contributors. Think about how you can make it worth the contributors’ while and make their input feel appreciated.

Technical hurdles

On the technology side, any tiny extra step on the way to giving input might be the point where a user feels it is too much effort after all. For example, if a contact form asks for more than basic information, users can get frustrated with how many fields they have to fill in. They might even worry for the security of their data and close the form. But even a minor inconvenience like having to open another page can be too much if the user is not strongly determined to get that feedback to you.

That’s why it’s important to make it as fast and easy as possible to give the input. Include as few steps as possible and make them intuitive and straightforward.

Options to passively gather insights

There are a few popular ways to let your users approach you with feedback:

Email contact

Many knowledge bases offer a central contact point and ways to directly contact the authors of knowledge articles. But during a full workday, an extra email can still be too much work, if it does not seem to offer benefits. To make it more likely for people to contact you via email, try offering a pre-filled mail (e.g., via an adjusted “mailto” link or a mail template), that users only have to insert their actual input into. Though also consider offering a contact form:

Contact form

A contact form can feel like a lower hurdle than composing an email. That’s because it already gives a structure and limited input options and you don’t have to explain circumstances, add a subject and a greeting, and so on. But make sure to keep the number of mandatory fields as low as possible, both to lower effort and not make your users feel like you want to collect their data for questionable purposes.

Page ratings

Many applications or pages also offer page rating functions, asking users whether they found the content helpful or not. While this can help identify content that need changes, you otherwise will not learn as much from such ratings as you might hope. Even knowing a piece of content got a lot of bad reviews doesn’t necessarily help fix it, as you first have to identify what exactly makes it so bad.

Of course, you could include a short questionnaire to clear up such questions, but this comes at a time expense not many readers are willing to give. (We’ll hear more about questionnaires and how they can be more helpful when we talk about actively gathering insights.)

Comment section

The comment section offers easier and faster feedback options than email and contact forms. It is less formal than an email and typically right there, underneath the content. A detriment, however, is that (at least with non-anonymous comments) you are putting your comment out there for other readers to see and potentially judge. That can contribute to the mental hurdle for this feedback option.

Out of these options, a good basic combination is to have a comment section and choosing at least one between email or contact form. That way you give options both for speed and ease, as well as for more private ways of contact.

Rating options or optional questionnaires can help gather some overarching user input but tend to give less helpful input and often also a lower return rate overall. Treat this more as a nice-to-have than a must-have.

Limited types of feedback in passive gathering

Now that we’ve considered some ways of passively gathering insights, another issue becomes apparent with this passive approach: Not only are there many things holding users back from giving input in the first place. It is also likely that the input you do get is limited to certain types, as you are depending on a strong enough motivator for a reader to give feedback. Which means something about the content causes a strong enough reaction in the reader to have that motivation. That makes it likely the cause is errors or other inconveniences in the content.

This can of course yield vital input, such as updates, corrections and structural improvement suggestions. And sometimes you might even get information about user behavior. But the latter are likely to be rare cases. That’s because you are missing out on feedback on things that don’t happen to trigger a strong reaction in the user as they are reading.

So, while you should not ignore the value of comments, emails and contact form submissions you might get, you can get a lot more insights by also using active ways to get input.

Gather insights actively

Instead of only relying on your readers approaching you with feedback, why not actively check into their needs? Here are some options to consider for getting to know your readers better:

Questionnaires

Questionnaires somewhat fall in the area between passively and actively gathering insights, depending on how you use them. In the most basic form, a page rating is a questionnaire. On the more active end, you might approach your readers directly, asking them to fill in a questionnaire that asks more specific questions on their needs and work habits. Used with more nuance, they can be a valuable tool to gather insights.

If you get many people to contribute, you can even use this to make a representative survey of your users’ needs. But don’t be afraid to start small. Even very few submissions can give you interesting insights. Just be careful to consider that some of it might be outliers and not the needs of the majority of your readers.

Getting participants for questionnaires can be tricky, because they suffer from the same mental and technical hurdles as the methods above. If you can, consider offering an incentive for participating. Also, make sure the questionnaire doesn’t take up too much time, is easy to navigate, and gives participants a good overview on how far into the questionnaire they have progressed. That way you help limit frustration.

Interviews

User interviews are a great way to get in touch with your users and gather insights, especially when you’re just getting started with looking into their needs. You can ask questions on any number of subjects you’re curious about, with the freedom of flexible follow-ups and allowing the users to bring up topics of their own. Additionally, it can get you in touch with readers you wouldn’t otherwise interact with personally. If you leave a positive impression, it’s a great promotion for your work as a knowledge manager and you’re more likely to get input again from these readers in the future.

One big concern with interviews is that they take a lot of time. But even within fifteen or just five minutes, you can easily gain valuable insights. Plus, you are more likely to get buy-in from the readers if you do not take up a lot of their time or make it feel like a big commitment.

Another concern, like with surveys, is that you need a certain number of participants to get representative results. But you don’t have to conduct a quantitative usability research. Every single participant is someone you can learn from. Again, just keep in mind that some statements might be outliers and not the norm.

Regular meetings

Another great way to get and stay in touch with your readers is to set up or join a regular meeting with them. This doesn’t have to be a dedicated meeting for knowledge base decisions but could be any regular meeting you can join.

Ideally, go for meetings that include frequent readers of the knowledge base as well as management, perhaps even owners of process changes. That allows you to gain insights both on the daily work and needs of your readers as well as management needs and process changes that might affect the knowledge base. You will learn a lot that’ll help you improve the documentation, and you have a space to ask questions in if necessary.

Additionally, you are building relations with the other participants of the meeting, giving you reliable points of contact for any future questions. You are also building trust with them, meaning they will be far more likely to reach out to you for any changes needed in the knowledge base, lowering the hurdles to communication we saw with some feedback mechanisms.

Keep gathering insights

Once you have started some of these ways of gathering insights, keep going. The more you learn, the wider your understanding of the processes and user needs will get, revealing more and more opportunities to improve the knowledge base and make it more helpful for your readers. It might completely change the way you approach doing knowledge management in the future.

Do you have any ideas or feedback? Tell us via mail to: marketing@avato.net

Imprint
Date: February 2022
Author: Kris Schmidt
Contact: marketing@avato.net
www.avato-consulting.com
© 2022 avato consulting ag
All Rights Reserved.

Halve the effort: Automatically detect duplicate content in 4 steps

Halve the effort: Automatically detect duplicate content in 4 steps

Drafts, working copies, old versions. Over time, numerous variants of a document can accumulate. For example, in marketing, the same text appears in a flyer, a brochure and a newsletter. Duplicates also occur in documentation, for example when content for very similar products is maintained separately. In addition, sometimes information is copied from one knowledge silo to another so that more users can access it.

Why is duplicate content bad?

At first glance, all these copies seem justified. After all, they serve a purpose. Over time, however, duplicate content leads to problems. If something changes, the information must be updated in several places. If a copy is overlooked or a small mistake happens, contradictions arise. If work then continues on several versions, users may struggle to determine which variant is current. Or is any version really correct? This confuses users who wonder which one applies to their case.

In other words, duplicate (or even triplicate and quadruplicate) content

  • doubles the maintenance effort
  • leads to errors and follow-up costs because the reliability of the information is reduced
  • impairs the user experience by making users feel confused

What can I do about duplicate content?

Content management prevents problems with duplicate content. It ensures that everything that belongs together can be found easily. To do this, the information is stored centrally and provided with the necessary metadata. A monitored process with regular checks according to the 4-eyes principle is also part of this.

But what can you do if the duplicates are already there? Searching large collections of documents by hand takes a long time and achieves little. It is quicker and easier to automatically detect duplicate content. This is done by measuring the similarity of two documents. The result is a list of duplicates. Afterwards, one version can be discarded or two documents can be made into one.

How can I automatically detect duplicate content?

This requires the following 4 steps:

Step 1: Collect documents

First you need to know where the information is located and in what format. Wikis, shared drives and data shares are the usual suspects. In terms of formats, you will mainly be dealing with Word, PDF, HTML and, in marketing, InDesign. Pay attention to how often which formats are used. This will save you work in the next step.

Step 2: Extract content

This is the most technically complex step. The text of all documents must be brought into a uniform form. Pure text without markup or layout is best. This can be done automatically. There are tools that support this. If there is no ready-made solution for one of your formats, you have to make a choice. Either you (or the developer of your choice) write a small programme that extracts the text; or you ignore the format. Which is better depends on

  • how often the format occurs
  • how likely it is that there are duplicates in this format

Step 3: Vectorise

This step does the magic but comes with minimal effort. Computers do have a hard time processing text. But there are ready-made solutions for this obstacle. In Python, for example, packages like scikit-learn  or gensim  provide everything you need. They make it possible to turn your documents into vectors with just a few lines of code. And computers can work very well with vectors.

Put simply what is happening here is that a list of all the words that appear in your documents is created. Then it is counted how often each word occurs in the respective document. So the document becomes a series of numbers. These numbers can be understood as a point or vector in a coordinate system. Similar documents (i.e. those in which the same words occur similarly often) are close to each other.

Tip: Before you convert the documents, you should

  1. Remove stopwords. These are words that occur often but have little meaning. These include articles, linking words and auxiliary verbs. There are ready-made lists for most languages that you can use to filter out the stopwords automatically.
  2. Remove numbers. If two documents are the same except for the date, a phone number or the product version, they are still duplicate content. Therefore, replace numbers with a placeholder.

Step 4: Measure similarity

Now you only have to measure the distance between your documents. There are different methods of measurement. Common methods are:

Regardless of how you measure, you get a value for each pair of documents. You can easily find out which values indicate duplicates by taking samples.

In our projects we use the cosine similarity. It lies between 0 (documents without shared properties) and 1 (identical documents). Experience shows that from a similarity of 0.95, documents are duplicates. Mostly, a couple of short sentences are missing in one version or individual names have been exchanged. With values between 0.9 and 0.95, the documents are still very similar, but with important differences, such as an additional work step.

Let the programme you use for measuring create a list for each document, naming all documents particularly similar to it. This gives you an overview of all duplicates in your collection.

What do I do now with the duplicate content?

That depends on the case:

  • If the media are different (e.g. flyer and brochure), you probably still need both versions. Make sure that all users know that there are multiple copies. For example, store all variants in one place or use shortcuts. Tip: The automatic detection of duplicates will alert you if the copies are unintentionally different.
  • You should archive or remove old versions. This way you prevent someone from accidentally using outdated information.
  • Drafts should be clearly marked as such and possibly kept separately. End users (whether internal or external) should only have access to final released versions. This way, only verified information is circulated.
  • You can merge similar documents into one. This relates both to documents that describe similar things or processes; and to cases where work has continued on several copies of a document. This has several advantages:
    • If anything changes, you only have to change the content in one place. You save time and no contradictions can arise.
    • There is no danger of anyone confusing the cases, as the differences are clearly visible. This prevents mistakes.
    • As you reduce the number of documents, it becomes easier to find the document you need. This saves time.

Conclusion

Duplicate content costs time and leads to errors. It creates additional work and can cause confusion. The only way to identify duplicates reliably and efficiently is to use automation. The most complex step here is extracting the text from the documents. Once this is done, you can quickly and easily create an overview of all duplicates. With this list, it is then easy to identify and eliminate problems and risks.

Do you have any ideas or feedback? Tell us via mail to: marketing@avato.net

 

Imprint
Date: January 2022
Author: Isabell Bachmann
Contact: marketing@avato.net
www.avato-consulting.com
© 2022 avato consulting ag
All Rights Reserved.

…more than a thousand words

…more than a thousand words

Making the best illustrations for knowledge articles

The saying goes: an image says more than a thousand words. When writing knowledge articles, you aim to explain (often complex) information to your readers as quickly and simply as possible. It follows, that illustrations can greatly help support those goals: Make the information quicker and easier to take in by adding another way of presenting it. To achieve this, of course you want to provide the best illustration to your readers you possibly can.

We have assembled some tips to help you do that, so your illustrations are helpful, intuitive and will stick with your readers as a positive experience.

To illustrate or not to illustrate?

Our first tip is in some contrast to the rest of the article. In the beginning, ask yourself, is an illustration helpful at this point or not?

Of course, illustrations are great helpers for explaining complex topics or strengthening recall. But it can be tempting to use them just as eye catchers or to “prettify” your article. So, try to avoid using an image that adds nothing to the page, as this is a waste of space in knowledge articles. Instead, you can use other means to draw attention and structure your page. (For some pointers, take a look at our article Guide the Eye).

On the other hand, many articles also suffer from the opposite problem. When an illustration could really help clarify many points, but there is none. So, if an image will add to the information value in your article, let’s look at how to make the best illustration to go with it!

What type of illustration?

Now, it’s time to pick the right type of illustration. For some content it might seem obvious, but often enough we see illustrations that aren’t ideal for the information displayed. That makes it harder for the reader to interpret them and also harder for the creator to figure out how to best put the information into this sub-par format. Here’s a few frequent types of information and the best illustration to go with them:

Information

Illustration

Processes, sequences of events

Flow diagram

Journey map / road map

Funnel chart

Circle / cycle diagram

UML

Connection between parts of a whole

Tree diagram

Pyramid diagram

Organizational chart

Connection or comparison between different parts

Mind map

Venn diagram

Matrix diagram

Numerical data

Bar chart

Pie chart

Line chart

Spider chart

Application UI

Screenshot

 

Of course, this is just naming a few options. The whole palette is plentiful and especially when it comes to numerical data, we could go into a lot of detail on which type of chart to use for what type of information you want to present. But if you’re unsure, it’s always good to research first what other people use to display a specific type of information.

Create the illustration

Now that you’ve picked the type of illustration you want to use, it’s time to actually make it.

1. Draft on paper

If it’s not an extremely simple illustration, first draft it on paper. This will help you finetune the best way to display the information before you start lining it up in some software, where bigger changes can be time-consuming and frustrating.

One important point to keep in mind at this point is how much information you want to put into one illustration. Illustrations are helpful tools for explaining complex information, but if your illustration itself takes half an hour to fully understand (or cannot be understood at all without outside help), rethink. Can you use several simpler images instead?

Also, run the draft by a colleague and ask them if it is easy to understand. That will help you identify possible weaknesses you can fix on your way to the best illustration.

2. Decide the file format

Once you have a plan in mind, it’s time to settle on a file format. This will help you pick the right software for the job.

For most knowledge article illustrations, the choice boils down to PNG and SVG. The main advantages of SVGs over PNGs are:

  • They scale up without loss of detail.
  • You can mark text in finished SVGs and copy-paste it out of the image.
  • SVGs can be used with some code-additions to animate, display elements at hover, or provide other interaction.

So, if you want particularly big illustrations, interactive ones, or if the illustration will contain a lot of text, go for an SVG. Otherwise, you can choose freely between the two formats.

Every basic software for image creation and editing can create PNGs. With SVGs, most software supports them by now, but it’s worth checking first so you can still switch software if needed.

(If you’re creating diagrams, there’s plenty of software that can support you by offering matching building blocks and automation, so you don’t have to create the diagram from scratch. So take a look and see if there’s a software that can do some of the work for you!)

3. Stick to a uniform style

If you make more than one illustration for all your knowledge articles, try to stick to a uniform style. This will help your readers more easily orient themselves, as they will recognize elements more easily.

Ideally, you even have a style guide between you and your co-creators. That way, you can use the same best illustration practices, which will increase usability and present a professional, concise look. (Don’t underestimate the value of creating trust in your readers via a consistent and intuitive design.)

4. Visibility and understandability

Speaking of style and design: There’s a few things you can do to increase how easy your illustration is to see and take in.

  • Size matters: Make things big enough to be read easily. Keep in mind the image might be embedded in a smaller size or might be viewed on smaller devices.
  • Contrast and fonts: We keep stressing this in articles on different topics, but it remains just as relevant: Choose good color contrasts for high visibility (use a web tool for contrast checking for objective input) and fonts that are easy to read and match your article.
  • Labels and keys: Especially for graphs, but also some other illustrations, make sure everything that needs explaining is labelled or there is a key to explain unintuitive icons. The best illustration does not help if it leaves open questions. Again, this is a good point to ask a colleague for input, to help you find any parts that do not speak for themselves.
  • Declutter: At the same time, keep things as simple and clean as possible. This might seem to clash a little with the previous step, but try to find a good balance as not to overwhelm your readers with the illustration.

Use the illustration in the text

Now your illustration’s all done! But even the best illustration can be hindering if not used right. Here’s a few more points to keep in mind once you use it in an article.

  • Size, once more: We already talked about size when creating the illustration. But as you embed it in your article, continue making sure it is big enough on different screen sizes. A good auxiliary option for bigger images is to make them zoomable, so they can be viewed at full screen size if necessary.
  • Explain the image: Unless your illustration is extremely simple, make sure to explain what it’s about in the text. This has multiple advantages, but the most important are: The information is available to tools like screen readers (making it accessible to a wider audience) and it is also available to search tools.
  • Use the alt-attribute: Depending on the publishing tool you are working with, you might also be able to enter Text as alt-attribute for the image. This partially serves one of the purposes we just mentioned for the explanation: It makes an image available to screen readers. If you have an explanation in-text though, it is still helpful to use the alt-attribute. Should the image not be displayable for technical reasons, the alt text can still inform the reader what they would see here, eliminating some possible confusion.

Keep illustrating

Now that you’ve made the best illustration for your latest article, do not put this topic out of your mind right away! Stick to it, see which other articles might profit from an illustration or which old illustrations you could improve. It’s time to elevate illustrations from superfluous decorations to truly helpful tools for passing on information.

Do you have any ideas or feedback? Tell us via mail to: marketing@avato.net

 

Imprint
Date: December 2021
Author: Kris Schmidt
Contact: marketing@avato.net
www.avato-consulting.com
© 2021 avato consulting ag
All Rights Reserved.

TCWorld Conference

TCWorld Conference

Once again, we took part in the TCWorld Conference. For the first time we held a presentation there. Under the title “Who are you? How a chatbot’s personality influences usability” we presented a study we conducted with the University of Würzburg. (For more on this topic, see our article “Chatbot personality: Friendly small talk vs. goal-oriented assistant”.) Because of the great interest, the presentation was translated live into English.

The TCWorld Conference is the annual meeting of TeKom, the largest association for technical communication in Europe. It took place (virtually) from Nov 9 to 19. A total of 2,600 people attended.

Keep things familiar

Keep things familiar

Did you ever visit a website and eventually found yourself having trouble navigating it because certain elements weren’t placed where you expected them or didn’t look like you were used to? For example, there was no logo in the top left corner to help you return to home or menu items were greyed out and seemed inactive?

Trouble with navigating such sites is not an error on the user’s side – it’s because the site does not comply with what we have come to expect from other websites. And thus, it is unfamiliar to us, and we cannot rely on past experience to navigate it.

Similar rules apply not just to the general layout of a website or app, but also to the content. We expect certain elements to look and work certain ways. And if they don’t, we have a harder time consuming the content.

While some publication tools for knowledge articles offer barely any options for styling of content, others give you a wide palette of customization options. Today’s article is aimed specifically at the latter. If you have some control over the way your content displays, these tips will help you make more confident decisions on which styling choices to go with. Keep things familiar for your readers and you will help them consume your content more easily.

Why conventions matter

Having bold new ideas to best present information to your users is a good thing, of course. But there’s a reason you should also stick to conventions. Jakob Nielsen from UX researchers NN/g sums it up perfectly in Jakob’s law of internet user experience:

“Users spend most of their time on other websites than your website.”

No matter how much time your readers spend consuming your content, the vast number of other sites or application they consume will always outweigh it. And that is where users build up their mental pictures of how certain elements are supposed to look and function. So, sticking to what they are used to will help them navigate your content more intuitively.

Now, let’s look at a few conventions you can stick to to keep things familiar and help your readers confidently and easily interact with your content.

Icons

Icons are a great visual shortcut or addition to text. And if you use them a lot, it can be tempting to come up with icons for all sorts of concepts. But try not to stray from the typical association between a specific icon and concept.

  • Stick to well-known icons, such as an envelope for email or messages and the shopping cart for – well – the shopping cart. But avoid icons that are very individual to your own content, as they are not intuitive to your readers.
  • When you’re unsure what the most universally understood icon for a concept might be, just take a look at what other content on the web uses most commonly.

But: Not every icon speaks for itself and not every concept has a unique matching icon. In these cases, consider if you can do without an icon to avoid confusion. And always put the name of the concept in your text in addition to the icon.

Colors

Although sticking to a company color scheme makes for a nice and clean look, some colors are widely associated with specific things and should not be used for other elements:

  • Red and closely adjacent colors stand for errors. As such, they should especially not be used for interactable elements, as they will look broken. But other elements, too, might look like warnings or wrong information if you use red. Therefore, it’s best to only use it for warnings, errors and the like.
  • Yellow, while not as severe as red, is also a warning color. It is best used for context that requires caution. Additionally, coming from the traffic light system, you can use it to symbolize things that are paused or in between states.
  • Green stands for active / usable elements as well as recommendations or correct ways to handle things and other positive associations. So, try to limit usage to these purposes.
  • Grey is more subtle than black or more colorful options, so it usually stands out less. It is therefore often used for inactive or less relevant elements. That’s why you should not use it for interactable elements like links or important text like headings.

In our article on guiding the eye, we already mentioned the importance of good color contrast. That applies both to contrast between background and text, but also between different text elements that should be easily told apart. Keep that in mind while picking colors like yellow or light grey.

Fonts

For the main fonts you use, you will want to stick to something that is easy to read and fits the design of your tool. But you might look for some highlight fonts for some elements. As you do, keep in mind that certain font types carry certain associations. Try not to use them out of that context to keep things familiar for your readers.

  • For example, monotype font is reminiscent of typewriters and the early computer age, but also of programming editors and we therefore recommend it as a good way to highlight code.
  • Although already a bit out of the comfort zone of a knowledge article, you can use handwritten font for drafts or user ideas, as they are reminiscent of handwritten notes.
  • On the other hand, cursive fonts symbolize elegance and bring an old-timey, romanticized flavor, making them inappropriate for knowledge articles.

Font style

In addition to the font itself, the font styling also has certain connotations:

  • Bold styling is the most versatile but is generally used to draw attention. Don’t use it for elements that are not very important.
  • Italics are typically used for titles of works or names of objects. Additionally, they are sometimes used to emphasize specific words. Due to this loose definition and uncertainty on whether or not it’s worth italicizing ever name of every application or just forego it entirely, italicization can be a bit confusing. So, consider carefully if its usage is clear to your readers.
  • The use of underline is also not too closely defined, but aside from general emphasis, it can denote links in combination with a highlight color. Make sure you do not style any non-link elements to look like a link, as this can lead to reader confusion on whether this is a broken link.

Links

Speaking of links: To make them apparent as such in text blocks, they should pop out from the surrounding text. But not all styling choices say “I’m a link” as clearly as others.

  • Stick to the color recommendations from above. If it works with your color scheme, blue and adjacent colors are great candidates, as blue is the most traditional link color.
  • If the color highlight alone does not make the links pop enough, try underlined or bold
  • To further help clarify that these are interactable elements, make sure the link and cursor change appearance at hover (typically, the link gets underlined, and the cursor turns to the pointing hand).
  • Consider whether it helps your users know which links they already clicked – often, the answer is yes. If so, make sure that visited links change color. (For blue links, the traditional color change is to purple.)

Buttons

User expectations for buttons share some similarities to those for links. If you have control over how buttons appear in your content, here’s a few tips:

  • Again, be careful of the color. Red buttons usually stand for Delete, Stop, etc. Green ones for Start or Agree. Grey buttons are perceived as inactive.
  • Just like a link, a button should change appearance at hover. A good typical indicator is the color going a bit darker (simulating the pressing down of the button) but other changes of color or border and shadow can also work. Remember that the mouse should also change from cursor to pointing hand.

Don’t overthink, but check how others do it

These were just some of the elements you can style more intuitively for your users by keeping things familiar. Although depending on your content and publication tool, there might be many more.

While sometimes you might find yourself mulling over the perfect styling for a specific element for a long time, try to check yourself: Overthinking can lead to very specialized styling choices that might match your content perfectly but no longer align with what users have come to expect from other sites or applications.

Instead, if you are unsure of the best way to style an element, do some research. See if there is a popular recommendation or check a few other sites or applications and see how they handle such elements. That way your readers will immediately feel familiar with your content’s styling.

Are there some other styling options your content requires and your publication tool offers? We’d love to learn how you applied them to keep things familiar for your readers.

Do you have any ideas or feedback? Tell us via mail to: marketing@avato.net

Imprint
Date: November 2021
Author: Kris Schmidt
Contact: marketing@avato.net
www.avato-consulting.com
© 2021 avato consulting ag
All Rights Reserved.

Webinar: How good is your wiki?

Webinar: How good is your wiki?

In her Bachelor’s thesis, Anna Busch researched how one can measure the quality of knowledge bases in an automated way. Are you interested in the methodology, results and practical examples of how your company can benefit from it? Register now!

What do you learn?

  • Current developments that increase the relevance of knowledge management
  • A methodical approach to automatically analyze knowledge bases
  • Actual results from practice
Where: Online, free webinar
Date: 25 November 2021
Time: 10am EST (4pm CET / 3pm UTC)
Duration: 1 h