How to tell a story
I have another life, outside of Susa Bell Research writes research consultant Suzanne Burdon.....as a novelist, and my novels are historical fiction. Recently I gave a workshop on turning fact into fiction at a literary festival in Victoria. As I was working on it, Sue pointed out to me that several of my charts about turning ‘fact’ into compelling fiction are relevant to our research communication – where we try to tell a story.
Reading and the psychology of motivation
Reading is a voluntary activity that people can start to do if they want to. They can also stop reading any time - even mid sentence. Although we tend to think of reading as somehow different from other forms of behaviour, many psychological concepts still apply. One of those is motivation and goal orientation.
Reading and motivation
Is your content full of jargon?
If your content is full of jargon, you are at risk of
- Creating unnecessary effort for your users and customers.
- Limiting how much they understand, and
- Disengaging them
"Jargon disrupts people’s ability to fluently process scientific information, even when definitions for the jargon terms are provided. ....... Research shows the less work audiences need to put into reading, the more they will find sources credible, and the better they will connect with the messages. " *
Lessons learned from testing written content with users
Over many years, I have tested written content on a diverse range of topics such as cycling safety, exchange-traded funds, denied insurance claims, superannuation fees and charges, and making a will. I have watched how people read letters, landing pages, statements and brochures and how they filled in forms. From this experience, I have learned how people actually read.
User testing shows when people skim read or stop reading
Content creators are often advised to write for skim readers who navigate via headings. In my experience, this is only partly true. It depends on how familiar the content is to them - or rather how familiar it seems and what they presume they need to do after reading it.