Wonder if your copy is intimidating? Try the ZOOM test

An artist friend of mine said she liked to be in a room that had interesting objects in it because there were “places for my eyes to rest.” It’s the same thing with a page of copy. Your eyes need places to rest on the page as they skim it. You can accomplish this by making the page more visually pleasing with white space and other page elements.

The “Zoom Test” is what I call it when you zoom out a page far enough so you can’t really read it – so your eye doesn’t get distracted by what’s being said. You just look at it visually as shapes.

Let’s look at an example (after the jump)…

The Before

This is a corporate email about to be sent to thousands of unsuspecting workers.

My first thought seeing this is WALL O TEXT. DO NOT WANT.

There are two easy ways to make your copy more visually friendly:

  • Headlines (and chunking of the copy into sections)
  • Bullets (breaking up a paragraph into easy-to-parse phrases)

After

Let’s look at a zoomed out view of the copy after I’ve edited the text and chunked it out with headlines and bullets.

Your eyes like this better, don’t they? Here’s what changed:

  • Headlines that break up the copy
  • Shortened paragraphs
  • Bulleted sections that break up the text

Side by Side

Here they are side by side.

Obviously good content editing plays a part in this, but readability will be improved by making your page visually pleasurable to read.

Posted on August 19, 2010 in Thoughts, Writing

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