Reading long paragraphs or pages of uninterrupted text can be tedious for anyone, unless it’s supposed to be that way: a twenty-thousand page Stephen King novel, or a really interesting dissertation on the evidence of alien life, for example. However, most of us even need a break after several chapters of good fiction.
Feeding your audience information about your products, services, company or processes via text alone is just about the worst way to do it, especially when the information is highly technical.
As a business owner, you know everything about your niche, industry or topic. You’re the expert, so you should be able to explain it. So why doesn’t it always work that way? Why is technical information often difficult to convey to a laymen audience?
Creating Technical Content for Your Audience
In order not to confuse, bore or drive your audience away with technical jargon or convoluted paragraphs, try answering the following questions when forming your content.
1. What do you want from your audience?
This will help shape the information you create. Do you want conversions? Do you want an email sign-up? An authoritative impression? When you set specific, defined goals or courses of action, you’ll be much less likely to pointlessly meander within your content.
2. How much and what do they need to know to perform the desired action?
This is one of the most important things to ask yourself before setting up your home or landing page. It eliminates superfluous information that can distract your audience or even lead them away from your desired response. Drawing up an informational map of how much and what your audience needs to know keeps things crucially simple.
3. How will you tell them?
This can be the most difficult question to answer about technical information delivery, but it doesn’t have to be. Apart from the medium you use to communicate with, there are also things to consider like tone, style and other textual choices. Will you use analogies? Testimonials? Demos? All of the above?
In addition, the “how” includes what you use to support and/or complement landing page textual content: visuals. Visuals are imperative for breaking up technical bits of text and crucial to explaining the information itself, because visual information is exceedingly more palatable than technical text. Both long and short visuals can help communicate technical information, and these can be combined for maximum information delivery.
Because there are so many types of visual aids and cues available, deciding ahead of time which ones work best [together] will prevent visual/sensory information overload for your audience.
More and more business owners are using videos on their own websites to boost engagement, and sometimes even conversions. If you think a video would be ideal in relaying the most important information, don’t hesitate to put the time and effort into creating one.
Pictures and Illustrations
Think back to your high school science class. Weren’t there often pictures to help describe things like water cycles (evaporation, condensation, precipitation) or how the body converts food to energy? Pictorial representations of technical concepts are much easier to grasp and register much more quickly.
Graphs, Charts, Flowcharts, etc.
Dividing up technical information into simple charts or graphs helps break up technical information that can get convoluted if presented solely via text.
These are becoming one of the most popular ways to succinctly portray a series of events, lots of statistics and numerical info, or just lots of smaller, shorter visuals within one larger visual. Infographs combine text, flowcharts, pie charts, illustrations and any number of other visuals. This is often an ideal method for delivering a lot of information without scaring away the audience.
Visual cues are still very much designed to impart information to the audience, but usually indirectly so. They indicate what pieces of information are the most important, such as where/how to order a product, how to contact a provider, or where to navigate to the next page. There are textual cues that work visually as well, such as bolded words, subheadings and hyperlinks.
Visual cues can change, and should be tested and re-tested to find the most effective ones. Be careful not to use overly strong graphics for visual cues, because they can have the opposite effect and actually distract your audience.
It’s never a bad idea to reference websites that do an exemplary job explaining something that you’re unfamiliar with. Technical information and content can be difficult to impart to your audience, but it’s not impossible.
Image by James Tarbotton.