Let’s Get Creative
We as millennials grew up in age where our form of taking in information was constantly shifting and shaping itself into the media we see today. Not only are we exposed to visual images like billboard advertisements, we take a lot of information from static text such as books. As we have grown up, these forms have shifted and so has their importance. I think it would be hard to argue against the idea that our generation has a tendency to look for the most relevant information in the quickest manner. Now this could lead a reader to skim over each article or one could use the principles of a User Centered Designed (UCD) format. The latter would attempt to guide the attention of the observer in a way that engages them and keeps them reading for more.
UCD is no easy process. One must flesh out many important criteria before creating the information they wish to relay to their audience. Some of the characteristics include: audience, ergonomics, visual aids, design flow, layout, consistency, value of information and much more. There are many tools to help developers create content that is relevant and thus keeping the observer engaged.
How to Keep Your Reader, Reading
As our generation changes so should the way we inform each other. Just like technology, our writing and work should be adjusted to meet the market standards. Thankfully most of us have grown up in an age where technology has played an integral part in our life. This has led many millennnials to become very proficient when interacting with digital media. This however does not come across in our work in the most efficient way. Using UCD principles can help make what information one presents even more relevant to the end user. There are many resources that provide information to understand UCD.
“User-Centered Design boils down to seeking meaningful design insights over random acts of design.” – Nataly Boyd: UsabilityNet.com
After conducting some research I found several resources that helped me develop guidelines for created UCD content. The Usability Net org. has a series of suggestions to help narrow the principles of UCD (Found Here). The organization has compiled a list of ten items they believe to be important when considering the designing and creation of such content. One major aspect that appeared across the many guidelines was the importance of knowing one’s audience.
Who is Reading It? Understanding How to Reach Your Audience
Understanding an audience is crucial to the development of UCD. In the end we want a particular observer leaving with a set of information. In today’s world that information needs to be translated very quickly. We must consider how we present that information as well. There are some great resources for interesting ways to attract and keep users. One website I found to particularly helpful was HowDesign.com. Particularly there is an article concerning UCD that gives great examples of real websites and content that convey information in different ways. They also set forth some guidelines to help users understand how their content should appear to their end user. In doing so we should ask ourselves some questions to decipher the best way to reach our end user. Should we send out an email? Make a poster? Prezi Presentation? This all depends on your audience. Depending on your audience one must discover the most convenient way to relay the details of your message. Does your audience have a college education? This might dictate what tone and word selection one uses. Where is your audience? How will an audience see your content? These questions will help the writer create something that can be observed in an appropriate place to the appropriate people. How long with the reader have to read? If there is a lot of text consider how you format your paper. Should there be visual aids to keep the reader engaged? How is the layout conveying your message?
In the end we want to create a document that reaches our audience and delivers our message in the most efficient manner possible. There are so many factors that can go in to how your content is perceived. I encourage each person reading this post to find an interesting website that they like and analyze how their design keeps you going back. For me, I like to follow several design blogs that post awesome content. These blogs can be found on Reddit with some of them including: Webdev, Design, Graphic Design, Photoshop and there are so many more! By asking questions from your audiences perspective one can begin to flesh out how their content should be displayed.