As referred to in my previous blog post, “Working Hard or Hardly Working?” millennials are faced with the daily challenge of connection and partnership with older generations in the workforce. I audibly stated that although we are faced with the bleak stereotype of being unmotivated and self-absorbed, we can incorporate measures in writing or our daily lives to bridge the gap between various generations.
Along with combatting stereotypes through written communication, we as millennials can incorporate a phenomenon called “user-centered design” or rhetorical awareness. Simply stated by User Focus, user-centered design is a method of advancement that will ensure a product, service, or site will appeal to the general user. Too often, a producer, writer, or corporation will create a commodity that appeals strictly to that specific source, ignoring the user entirely. By integrating user-centered design, the supplier has a greater chance or appealing to their targeted audience. Alongside listening to the user, rhetorical awareness includes a persuasive tone with a vast amount of background information which is important when trying to sell your point to your targeted crowd.
According to Usability.gov, to develop user-centered design, it is essential that the writer thoroughly evaluate the users, tasks, and environments; all of which are incorporated in the user experience. It seems as though concentrating on the consumer would be a conspicuous when trying to sell a product or attempting create a website, yet too often they are overlooked. Since we are already battling a repressing stereotype, how can we as millenials work at the forefront to master user-centered design through our everyday writing? In the process of doing some research on increasing user awareness, a few prevailing ideas seemed as though they would be beneficial in workplace writing.
First and Foremost, any written piece should be easy on the eye and easy to navigate. When surfing the web, I steer clear of anything that appears greatly confusing or unorganized. Since websites, articles, or documents take on multiple structures, it is difficult to pinpoint how to appeal to the general public. A simple step is to clearly label content, headers, tabs, or diagrams. Though an acquaintance at the office may easily navigate your publication, the audience is often less informed and appreciates minimal commotion. Easy navigation also includes having an appropriate text-to-white-space ratio. The last thing a reader wants to do is get lost in a large jumble of words, so adding photos, breaking up articles, and forming headers can induce fluid comprehension. i
Just as important as structural design is sentence design. When computing written work, the author needs to consider the background of the reader. Though our immediate peers may have the same educational background as us, there are thousands of people browsing the Internet who struggle with literacy and comprehension. Complex sentence structure can be integrated as long as the writer knows his or her target audience is efficient in reading, whereas simple structure may appeal to the vast majority of viewers. As a general rule for any audience, the creator should reiterate difficult concepts that may be unfamiliar to the general crowd. When it comes to complexity of the sentences, we should only be as intricate as need be. In the rush provoked by today’s society, a fluent and simple piece of work is much more appealing to read.
This leads into being efficient and to the point. It is essential that we cut out any background information that may not be necessary in order to get our point across to our audience. With too much noise, the reader is likely to get bored and not follow through to the end of the article or document. The quicker the writer gets their point across the easier it is to make an impact on whomever comes across their work.
Most importantly, we millenials must pay close attention to the general values and passions of our audience. User-centered design is most effective when there is a strong connection between the user and the work they are viewing. To accurately target the audience, research on the background of the targeted crowd is absolutely crucial. Do they work with a nonprofit organization? Are they family oriented? Religious? Each of these effortless questions can help you discover an immense amount about the character of your audience and therefore allow you to deeply connect to their ideals and integrity. Letting our readers know we care about them provides an emotional aspect that intrigues them and creates a strong author to audience bond. LinkedIn proves that with five simple steps this emotional connection can produce strength and value.
User-centered design and rhetorical awareness are neglected all too often yet millennials have the opportunity to take a leading edge and use specific strategies to connect to and convince their audience. Creating a piece of work that is easy to navigate, properly written, straight to the point, and connects to the values and character of the audience will ensure maximum usability and impact within any form of written communication.