This is almost always the first step of any web site project, particularly a landing page.
It is either the hardest or easiest one for me (usually the hardest). It might be the hardest because I know how important it is and so I put in the time and effort to give it my best shot. Or in the beautiful and rare case that it’s the easiest, it just comes to me.
Creating a Message Overview
Here’s the goal: create a simple and clear message that resonates with your target audience. It should clearly show the benefit to them or why they should be interested. It should be the first thing your users read when they reach your page.
I almost always spend more time on this one step alone than on any one of the other steps.
For this project I spent the first 11 days on this one step. Not the whole day, but everyday I’m thinking about it, writing down different ideas that come to me, reviewing what I’ve written previously.
Often times I find myself doing step 1 and step 2 together. It helps me clarify what’s the main message and what are supporting messages or just parts of the message.
To find the message I ask myself questions like:
- what exactly am I offering
- what is the outcome to the user of this website (or portion of the website in this case)
- what do my users want that I’m offering
- what is the biggest pain point for my user that this solves for them
Those are the type of questions I ask. I don't have a list written down that I follow or anything. Basically I just try to think from their perspective about what really matters to them.
Testing Out Different Messages
For this project here is the first stab at the message:
"Understand yourself better and what majors and careers fit your personality."
“Discover your personality and which majors and careers most suit you.”
And yet another:
“Find the perfect major and career for you.”
“Find the majors and careers that match your personality.”
Each of these are simple and pretty clear. My biggest question now is which one resonates with my target audience?
How I Would Involve Users
I would run a quick study doing something like this:
Explain that I'm creating a website and need their help testing the message. Present one of the messages and ask the participant:
- What do you think you will find on this website? (test clarity - are you communicating what you want to communicate)
- How interested would you be in something like this? Why? (one test of how much it resonates)
- A better test of whether it resonates is by asking them to actually do it and watch and listen to them. You will learn so much more this way. I would probably do both tests of resonance.
After I got the website up I would also run some A/B tests to see how each message performed live on the site.
Determine the Message to Use
I don’t necessarily decide on one single message as I might want to lengthen it or shorten it depending on the design I go for. If I have involved users I would use all that information to make a more informed direction to go (again I probably won’t determine the one and only message I’m going to use unless I’m very confident of it).
Today I’m going to pick which message(s) I think will be the best. I will be testing the message when I run usability tests on the personality test next month.
For now the two message I think are most clear and persuasive are:
- Find the majors and careers that match your personality.
- Find the perfect major and career for you.
The Next Step (Step 2)
In this step I will begin brainstorming the different messages I want to communicate on this page.