4 tips: What to do about a text-intensive website?
2013.09.23 by Sebastian Maier
As a designer, you deal with websites just as much as we, as programmers do, and you know that there should be a limit as to how much text to include on a website. Visitors are often searching for specific information and those who are interested will not want to feel like they are reading a novel. With the increasing use of mobile devices, this becomes even more important. Nevertheless, it is possible that a customer, who is also seeking in-depth advice, would by all means want to see long text passages or text-heavy subtopics on the website.
PACKAGE LENGTHY TEXT PASSAGES ELEGANTLY
What can you do to incorporate a large quantity of text into a website and nevertheless, maintain a structure that is easy to read? Whatever the nature of the content might be, the following options are available to assist you in managing and controlling vast amounts of text.
Text fields that trim down the longer text into a short teaser
The visitor can thus decide at a glance, whether accessing the content beyond the teaser is worthwhile. This would be applicable to subtopics, such as the various models offered by a machine manufacturer or which courses a Yoga instructor teaches.
Tip: It makes sense to limit the length of such text fields. That way, a customer who also edits his own site, can also know how long a new teaser should be.
Expandable menus that reveal additional information when clicked
Furthermore, including even short texts, such as team descriptions or the individual answers for a FAQ, among the mass of information, makes a website quite confusing. Using expandable menus, the visitor can specifically pull up the desired information, without at the same time ending up on a new page.
- If there really is an extensive amount of additional information, there is ultimately still the option of providing it to the visitor as a PDFdownload. You can thus provide bundled content, especially of the type which would benefit the visitor offline as well. A file containing the General Terms and Conditions, for example, would belong to this category.
Tip: With smooster, you can link PDF files in the same way you have been doing it all along. After you have uploaded the PDF, you select the text or the image with which you would like to link the download. On the “Link Type” setting in the smooster CMS, you then opt to link to an uploaded file and you link the text or the image with the desired PDF.
If the text deals with information which adds something particularly valuable which is beyond the scope of the actual page content, a blog can also be the right option.
Tip: Naturally, a blog is not for anyone who does not have the time to edit their own website. But if you have a plan to publish new information on a regular basis, then why not a create a blog instead of a “News” page? Using the comment feature option would thus also enable you to communicate with site visitors in a less complicated manner. It would be, however, vitally important to schedule some time to update and maintain the blog.
I would here like to present to you two interesting articles which address the issues of text-intensive and content-heavy websites, respectively:
In her article, designer Kayla Knight provides an answer to the question: “How to plan out text-heavy websites?”
In the article by Nataly Birch, you will find a selection of content-heavy websites and will be able to see how other designers dealt with the subject graphically.
When confronted with very text-intensive websites, especially small- and medium-sized ones, the following questions should always be a central theme in the dialog with customers: “Is this subtopic necessary? Could we not also convey the same content using less words?” If, nevertheless, there is no other possible way, the four options detailed above will assist you in better structuring a vast amounts of text.
This article is based above all on our past experience in collaboration with designers and their smooster customers. If you have already had similar experiences with customers, then leave us a comment letting us know how you handled them!