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Dyslexia friendly websites, are you thinking of the 10%?

Dyslexia friendly websites, are you thinking of the 10%?

Lately I have been thinking, if 10% (6.68 million) of the UK population are dyslexic why is making a website dyslexia friendly not as important as providing a site in different languages?

Dyslexia awareness has come a long way since I was a child, I remember being told “you’re just a bit stupid” when I struggled in school, as society’s awareness increases,  I can see that those days are far behind us. Dyslexia affects a persons ability to learn, read, and spell, but it’s not related to intelligence, and charities such as http://madebydyslexia.org/, backed by Richard Branson, have done a great job at promoting and changing public perception.

What’s the problem?
One of the most common traits of people with dyslexia is difficulty reading. Dyslexics read at an average of 50 - 150 words per a minute, the average reading speed of a non-dyslexic is 250 words per minute. There are interactive examples, such as Dan Britton’s typeface that let you experience what reading is like for someone with dyslexia. 

Whether you have an Ecommerce site or a wiki, you want everybody to find it easy to read the content you provide.

What can be done? A few simple steps:
 
Fonts
Research from Dyslexia Help has found that there are certain font types that have an impact on reading speeds for people with dyslexia. A font has been specially developed called ‘OpenDyslexic’ to give optimum reading speed. Although this is down to the preference of the user, some of the best fonts for an increase in reading speed are Helvetica, Courier, Arial, Verdana, CMU, Sans Serif, Monospaced, and Roman Font.

Colours
When it comes to colour, contrast is an important factor for a dyslexic. Generally, people with dyslexia find it difficult to read with high contrast levels and read faster when contrast levels are lower. The standard black text on a white background is not beneficial to people with dyslexia as it can appear too dazzling. Off-whites and pastel colours are generally a good alternative to white and offer a lower contrast.

Icons / Pictures
The phrase; ”a picture paints a thousand words” can most definitely be applied to a dyslexia friendly website. Pictures and icons are a dyslexic's best friend, if you can you use an icon in place of text then this can drastically reduce the time that a dyslexic user spends trying to work out what it is on the page.

Time
In school exams dyslexics are given 25% extra time. Therefore it’s good practice to apply the same rule to moving elements on your site, such as carousels, so that they have time to read and process the content.

These are just some small, simple changes - but there is far more that can be done, just check out the British Dyslexia Association for a full style guide.

Resources:
https://cdn.bdadyslexia.org.uk/documents/Advice/style-guide/Dyslexia_Style_Guide_2018-final-1.pdf?mtime=20190409173949

Dan Stephenson
Dan

Created on Thursday July 04 2019 12:05 PM


Tags: website accessibility disability content contentstrategy screenreader webdesign


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Your web presence - are you doing enough?

Do more. Mac on desk workspace

What is web presence?

Web presence in a nutshell is all things digital that represent and showcase your business or organisation and brand online.

This can include your website, targeted email campaigns, regular e-newsletters, digital branding; where areas of your branding is adapted for web use, this should match any physical or offline branding but be optimised for web use such as colours, logo size and quality or fonts. Web presence also includes the following:

·Social media, the use of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram or online networking through LinkedIn to build reach.

·Content; On page, regular blog posts or videos.

·Organic Search on and off site, or PPC campaigns through Google or even Facebook depending upon your audience.

Importance of an online presence

Why is this so important? Well, your web presence is your voice before a prospect gets to talk to you, it is your virtual shop window. It creates a platform for businesses and organisations to strengthen their brand and entice prospects.

A professional looking site has the potential to level the playing field between the smaller and larger businesses.

Your web presence is where you can raise your creditability, show your expertise within your industry and increase the trust and authority you hold over any niche services.

I hear a lot of people say that they gain their new business through referrals. Well that may well be true, but that referral will more than likely check the website to ensure they do in fact offer what the referred person needs. For example, when someone recommends a restaurant or hotel you most likely check it out on TripAdvisor and go through their website too. If they didn't have a website or had no offsite reviews or social media presence at all would you trust that referral? Probably not, you would click else where just as this prospect would.

Your website needs to showcase your brand, who you work with, what you do and how you do it and the other avenues of your web presence should align to this too. This in turn will aid the sustainability and growth of the business.

B2B customers get up to 70% of the way through the buying journey before they're ready to talk to anyone about making a purchase and the average paying customer will have had 7 touch points before converting. These touch points can vary in platform hence why the web presence is so important. They may read a leaflet, see a post on Facebook, follow you on other social media channels, sign up to a newsletter, visit a shop and have numerous visits to the website, all before making a purchase or signing up for a service. For 81% of people looking to make a purchase they will look to the internet, if you aren't there then that potential customer will find someone who is.

To stay ahead of the game with this trend you need to show up in the initial research phase which will most likely include a Google search and looking through the first few organic rankings. You should also have a fast loading, easy to use, responsive website that has https on any data gathering pages at the very least. Having reviews or case studies available to users and relevant, engaging content can also be a real game changer in conversion rates for you.

Working on digital content

Doing enough?

Sometimes it can be hard to tell whether you are doing enough with your web presence. No one expects a business or organisation to necessarily be covering every point that's been mentioned within this post. Generally speaking, to get going you need a good website that is built professionally so that it can achieve what you want it to, is fully responsive and secure (https) that is then filled with engaging, relevant content.

Having a blog as part of your website is a great way to keep people coming back as you can let them know when new content has arrived. You can use a blog to promote certain products and services or tell customers and prospects what the company has been up to! As part of this content (including blogging) there should be potential to cover some on site SEO (search engine optimisation) this can be done by creating on page quality content that covers services, products or information that you want to rank for. The rest of this can be done with the set-up of your site or through most CMS (content management systems) post going live.

It is also best to set up a Google my business profile and ensure all the details match those of your website. Finally having some sort of social media presence is becoming more and more important and relevant. Rather than trying to cover every platform choose one or two that seem good for your audience and master them through regular posting of great content and sharing of other relevant content that you may come across. Remember you can do PPC campaigns on social so when you feel confident and have some budget for extra marketing they can be a great area to expand into.

Talk to us more about your web presence and how you're doing by emailing: simon@thisisfocus.co.uk or stephanie@thisisfocus.co.uk and we'll organise a call.




Being Content with Content

Being Content with Content

You’ve built the website, the client loves it and the early stages of testing are looking promising, there’s just one problem – you don’t have any real content.

The word ‘content’ can be daunting and overarching. There’s an entire website/app/platform and somebody needs to fill it with engaging, witty, relevant words and images that will bring users from far and wide. No pressure then.

What is content?

Content can be used as a catchall term but at its core it is information – pages, events, blogs, videos, illustrations, graphs, photos can all be described as ‘content’.

Without it, most websites would be a series of shapes and colours that didn’t communicate anything.

Staring into the abyss

Timing is crucial. Get the content as early as you can. If the site is replacing an old one and the client already has content, fantastic, ask them to send it to you as soon as they can. This is mutually beneficial as it can be used to influence the design and they can see it in situ to get a feel for how the finished site will look.

Whether you have content already, or you’re starting from scratch, the first step to dealing with the content behemoth is to break it down. Break it into small, manageable steps and then break it down again. Figure out what type of information you need for each page type, and what format it needs to be in. Then make a list of the minimum amount of content you need to launch.

For instance, if your new website has events, news and cms pages you may need a minimum of 3 upcoming events, 3 news stories and 17 specific pages of information.

 

Bridging the divide

Now that you know what you need, you need to know who is responsible for creating it. If you’re working from the ground up, you may need to assign content. Perhaps you, as the digital agency will be writing some of the support documents, such as a list of cookies used and the client is doing the rest? Maybe the client has the words but they need some help with the images? Maybe they have it all in hand.

Figure out what is being created, or sourced by who and keep track as your content folder starts to fill.

Writer’s Block

You may be met with resistance ‘I’m not a writer’, ‘I don’t know what I want to say’, ‘There’s too much to do in the time frame’. If you’ve worked out the minimum amount of content you need and who’s creating it, all that’s left is to know what you want to communicate and who you want to communicate it to.

If you have a page of fact sheets, maybe a bulleted list of links is the way to go? If you’re reporting on a recent workshop, perhaps a captioned video with a small amount of text underneath.

Being content

The most important thing is to factor it in. It’s all too easy to spend hours building a beautiful backend, throw yourself into absolutely nailing the CSS and then discover that there’s nothing to fill the page but 3 stock images and some well-placed lorem ipsum.

Don’t be complacent about content – you want users to come to your website for the content and stay for the excellent UI.

Frances Smolinski
Frances

Created on Wednesday June 26 2019 08:00 AM


Tags: website web-design content contentstrategy


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Digital Love

Digital Love

The trouble with being dead busy and heads-down-cracking-on is you get a bit inward-facing... which is great for the here and now, but means you can lose sight a bit of what's happening out there in the big wide world of Web. So yesterday was a great opportunity for me to raise my head up, and spend the day at a conference in Bristol City Centre - On The Edge Digital. It was a really inspiring event - the speakers covered a range of topics, some of which we know, some we think we know and some we can learn a lot from!

The subjects included:

  • Content - matching it to your sales process, and your target audience
  • Localised SEO (search Engine Optimisation) and Searches - what does it mean to be Local?
  • Email Marketing - some easy methods to try to get improved results
  • PPC (Pay Per Click) - quick wins and Google's new Enhanced campaigns
  • Social Media - strategy, common mistakes and what channels to use
  • RWD (Responsive Web Design) - understanding more about why, and when to make the change to give the best user experience
  • Social Networking for B2B - making it the right fit; and fitting it in!

And I do love the Digital World. It's inspiring and jaw-dropping and infuriating and exciting and keeps on changing ALL THE TIME. I love learning about latest developments and trends and news and views, forming opinions, putting them into practice, and then applying new developments and trends and news and views to make ongoing improvements... and so it goes on.

If you think it's about time to review your website or digital marketing strategy, please do get in touch. There's some exciting new developments happening right now, and it's all fresh in my mind - so let's have a chat and see what we can do to get you a bit of Digital Love too :-)




Content strategy for Charity websites

Sometimes part of the 'Information Architecture' planning stage of a website project, Content Strategy is a fundamental part of the success of your site.

Most charities know exactly what they want to say and what their message is, but don't know how to say it - effectively - on the web. Good web content is powerful, short; easy to scan over and navigate through. You don't lose your audience in those first few critical seconds with over-long and hard to read content.

Charity sites need to speak to a wide audience (several different audiences, in fact), and tend to focus on emotive images and text, with core messaging about their causes and how they help. It's common to feature large images, video content or graphics. You can see examples of these on our friends at MSI's site - www.ms-society.ie

The more you can identify what your audiences are interested in - and respond to - the easier it is to produce content that is engaging and thought-provoking.

A key part of Information Architecture - 'Personas' - can be used as an approach for planning content. You could consider holding a content strategy workshop; using audience personas to help your staff empathise with each audience type and 'see the site through their eyes'. From this work, your web team can assess the information architecture (navigation and content structure) for the site, ensuring it's relevant to the 'Persona' findings.

Planning and developing your site content needs to begin at the start of the project, and follow the agreed milestones; not be a mad copy-paste scramble from old site to new in the final days before go-live...

Social Media
Linked to your site content will inevitably be Social Media. It's a cost effective way to increase your communication-reach; and ideally has some strategy behind it to keep focus on what's trying to be achieved. Your web team can feed in posts and tweets automatically to the web site or other social media tools - without you having to repeatedly copy-paste!

Tips for Strong Content

Keep it short - use short, punchy content rather than lengthy, rambling articles. Attention spans are getting shorter, so consider using videos to explain issues in a quick, engaging way - Save the Children is producing short videos to tell stories much faster, www.wateraid.org.uk will tell you at first glance: 'Today, 4000 children will die because of dirty water and poor sanitation'. Those 12 words say it all.

Use images - Real, hands on photos of activities and events. No head-and-shoulders shots! Staff and volunteers can - and should - take photos all the time, and save them in a communal image bank. But do try to save budget for a professional photographer, for key marketing images on your home page, brochure covers, advertising etc.

Get organised - Staff and volunteers need to capture all the highs and lows they'll experience in their day - these real-life stories will provide relevant content that will engage readers. Encourage them to save their notes and articles in a story bank - or better still, publish an article on the site!

Talk to your audience - People are used to informal language. Be natural, conversational where appropriate, and use plain English - and try to say 'you' more than 'we' where you can. Use terms that make sense - 'stakeholders' means something to your corporate team, but not to Bob who just wants to know what you spend your donations on.

And crucially - using copy that 'normal' people enter in search engines, makes that article easier to find in search results.

Use Social Media - ideal for presenting your 'personality'. Instead of sharing links to recent blogs or articles, use tools like Twitter and Facebook to chat with your audience. Try to actually reply to/contact someone every few tweets. Monitor your streams and direct audiences to further content.

Have a purpose - whether it's to get new donors, supporters, sponsors or volunteers, there should be a call to action on every page. This could be contact or to find out more, or also see...

Use quotes - comments from staff, volunteers or service users makes content feel 'real' and current.

User testing - your volunteers may be pleased to help with user testing; set them tasks to find certain information, or perform a series of content-related tasks. Getting feedback and input form 'real' users will be invaluable, and can be fed into the site to keep it fresh and effective.

Top tip - Always think about the 'So What?' factor. Why does your audience need to know this information, do they understand it, and what's in it for them...

If you'd like to know more about Information Architecture, Content Strategy or any other topics from this blog, please give us a call or drop us an email - we'd be very happy to talk to you!

Annette Ryske
Annette

Created on Tuesday January 29 2013 01:56 PM


Tags: charity msireland copy seo informationarchitecture contentstrategy


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