There was an interesting article on A List Apart recently about how design choices can drastically affect the way that users react to a site’s messaging. They took a page that contained a critical call to action and tested two variations on the design and minor copy tweaks.
The results were really surprising.
One of the designs that appeared to improve readability and usability actually resulted in a 53% drop in measured reaction. Wow!
When we build sites, we make so many decisions based on our past experience, training and hunches… This article suggests that “testing” is an important addition to that list.
“One way or another, it’s important to accept that none of us—neither designers nor writers—know what the “best” page design or copy is until we test”.
The article also mentions the importance of integration of writers within the process. I’d be surprised if many Web builders, designers, architects, etc. spend a lot of time—right from the beginning of the project—with their writers, ensuring a good fit of copy to display.
Good stuff from ALA.