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Critique: Creating Clarity

aka  doing the work so your visitors don't have to

How much patience do you have when visiting a new site?

I don't know about you, but I'm only ever moments away from shutting the tab. If a website requires me to sit and decipher what's on offer, it's gonna get closed.

Avoiding Confusion

As an example of this, we'll be looking at Everwise. Upon landing, we're greeted with the following opening statements:

A heading needs to instantly establish why the visitor should want to carry on browsing the site. This can either be through empathising with a very clear problem, or outlining how the company will improve their life/business.

This heading doesn't do that for me. If anything, I'm left kind of confused as to what my second biggest challenge might be.

I'd guess this is an attempt to establish intrigue, but this only works if you've given the reader a desire to know the answer. As a typical way to do this, I'd want Everwise to show they understand a challenge I'm having, then tease that they know a way to solve it.

Intrigue only works if you've given the reader a desire to know the answer

The subheading does add some detail, but it could be tweaked to give much more insight.

Could Everwise mention the type of team? The same goes for what kind of tools and resources. For all I know this could be anything from providing equipment for a sports team, training for high-end leatherworkers, or teaching programmers a new language.

The same goes for what 'success' will look like. For these three hypothetical customers, their measures of success would look very different.

A Second Chance

Some visitors will at least scroll down to the first main section shown below. This becomes our second chance to capture their interest.

Now, this raises as many questions as it answers;

  • integrates with what?
  • what kind of talent?
  • developed how?

If you read the full text, the visitor is given a bit of a hint at the mention of Fortune 500 executives and on-the-job training, but there's not enough information to spark that feeling of 'oh! this would be perfect for me!' that I'd want to create by this point.

Making it Specific

After further digging around the rest of the site, I started to get a better picture of what Everwise was about.

They sound like a great company who aid professional development through custom made training software and by connecting employees with relevant industry mentors. I can't say whether this is for a particular sector of employee or at what level of experience, but it's certainly a start.

Ideally, I'd want to feed this back into a headline that people can instantly identify with. However, they seem to be aiming at users with conflicting motivations.

At a glance, these buttons make sense. Yet if you were to write a list of why each one wants professional development services, what would it look?

My guess is that a manager would worry about making employees feel valued to improve retention, as well as wanting to unlock the full productivity of new graduates as fast as possible. Contrast this with an employee who'll likely be thinking about internal promotions or improving their job prospects to move somewhere else. That sounds like a clash of motivations to me.

Everwise could write something neutral that both parties are fine with, but this would fail to be compelling to either.

If you write for everyone, you'll sell to no one

This is why you'll hear copywriters say 'if you write for everyone, you'll sell to no one'. Instead, I'd encourage Everwise to pick the side where they see the most potential, and get their site immediately speaking directly to the type of clients they want to work with

Conclusions

Your visitors have enough on their plate, so do them a favour and have your website quickly get to the point.

I want everything from the first headline to be specific as  possible. After all, this is the difference between 'mentoring your graduates to reach their full potential' versus a very different proposal of 'connecting managers with mentors so they can continue to grow their skills'. 

So look at your website as if you knew nothing about it. How much do you think you could figure out at a glance?

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