Engage and Captivate your Audience with Long-form Content and Flat Website Design
By Jesper Dybdahl Hede
Nyhavn 43, 1051 Copenhagen K
Mobile +45 31 43 58 70 | Office +45 70 27 80 00
At Novataris we help companies optimize their business and gain value with technology. We make IT solutions, yet we consider ourselves advisors first. In this article we would like to focus on a couple of things we can do to move a website from good to great.
While we can deliver on various platforms, our bread-and-butter recently has been Episerver. The Swedish CMS platform provides the technological basis for a wide range of choices and outcomes.
Here's a basic truth: No matter what business you are in, you are in the IT business. Whatever product or service you sell, your success depends on people fiding you on the intergoogle. According to Google, the number one search engine is Google with a approx. 90% (not really an impartial source, but let’s accept it for now).
“A prevailing understanding is that interweb users have a short attention span, and consequently you should keep your content short and to the point. It seems that this is not entirely correct”.
A prevailing understanding is that interweb users have a short attention span, and consequently you should keep your content short and to the point. It seems that this is not entirely correct. While cruising the information superhighway the average user hates waiting for page loads (slow pages equals low conversion rates). But if a user digs into a page, he/she is not discouraged by a lot of content or a high word count. Quite the contrary it seems. The internets has an extreme width on subjects, but what users want is depth. Google recognized this a few years ago:
"Users often turn to Google to answer a quick question, but research suggests that up to 10% of users’ daily information needs involve learning about a broad topic. That’s why today we’re introducing new search results to help users find in-depth articles.
These results are ranked algorithmically based on many signals that look for high-quality, in-depth content."
As expected, Google keeps quiet about their algorithm and the "many signals". But there are clues: The average Google first page result contains 1,890 words (For reference).
What we are talking about is Long-Form Content with word counts at 2-3000 and upwards. The format allows for in-depth writing on a subject. Information can be shared, and explained, and detailed, and backed up with visuals. The reader is taken on a journey through the subject matter and the sender gains credibility along the way. Readers are positive about detailed content and are more likely to share on social media.
"NOW, WE ARE NOT ALL BLOGGERS OR YOUTUBERS PRETENDING TO BE FAMOUS. WE ARE SERIOUS PEOPLE WITH SERIOUS CONTENT THAT NEEDS TO BE CREDIBLE."
There are of course differences in how to present different content. Yet it's worth noting that the goal here is to engage and captivate your audience. Do it through well-thought-out content with enough detail to show you know what you are talking about.
Don't be nervous about keeping things short and easily digestible. Go for depth and stay relevant and interesting throughout. Google will reward you for it. As will your users.
One design focus that can help decrease navigation irritation and simultaneously allow for interesting content is referred to as Flat Design webpages. It's minimalistic and visually appealing, while reasonably easy to make responsive. It's what we did on www.novataris.com
"OH THAT! THAT'S NOT NEW."
It's not new, but it works well when you want to provide long-form content. Episerver supports this excellently through content areas and blocks. Webpages can be long and heavy in details while still seem light and motivating for readers. Great walls of text should be avoided, and long texts should be elegantly wrapped in visual elements that make the reading experience a delight.
Flat Design focuses on usability. Elements are simple and two-dimensional. Colors are bright and used to highlight. Anything the user can interact with (links, buttons, etc.) stands out. The design moves away from Skeuomorphism and relies on users being able to interact with the page without explicitly telling them how to.
Thinking about branding, this really makes a lot of sense. Companies spend huge amounts of money to get their name or logo or color scheme just right. CMO's pick their holy grail of choice: Maybe your logo should be "smashable"? Maybe you desperately need to be cross-channel? No wait! Did you mean cross-device and multichannel? Or minimalistic and environmentally friendly?
Going flat enables you to focus on the key elements of your branding strategy. Flat Design is minimalistic and clean, so whatever is deemed central will be emphasized. By reducing the amount of visual noise, flat design provides users with a streamlined user experience.
At Novataris we do this, and we are good at it. We can do flat or we can do lumpy. We have dedicated UI designers, who are experts in building world class websites and digital content. More importantly, we have the ability to understand your business and help you exceed your customers’ needs.