vlad malik

Pack your headings with content
3 years ago

A visitor should learn something just by reading your headings. Write informative headings. Don’t save content for later. You can elicit curiosity by revealing key insights to the right audience rather than by obfuscating.

Try a complete statement

On HelpTheChickens.ca, we can replace the generic headline with text from their intro paragraph:



Beware one-word headings. We can replace the generic heading on this site’s membership page with a value proposition and a call to action:

Here’s another case from a page about wool where the one-word heading can be replaced with content from the paragraph:




Improving headings can lead you to improve your paragraph content. If an informative heading makes the paragraph redundant, replace the paragraph with more specific content.

Headings help give readers the most value as fast as possible and can spare them from reading something they are not interested in. That’s a good thing.

Informative headings also make your content more accessible, because users of assistive technologies can skim it more easily.

Try being explicit

Write like a real person explaining things to real people. Speak out-loud and record yourself speaking about what you do. Explain it in an informal email to your grandmother. That’s probably simpler and clearer copy than what you have on your site.

The stock heading from RelateIQ forgets to say what the product is:




In contrast, ScoutApp clearly states that their tool does Server Monitoring:



Try eliciting curiosity with facts

For web writing, I take a functional view of headings. Try to grab attention and build curiosity by highlighting useful information. If you can do that while being playful, funny, or creative, then so the better. However, be a user-centeric writer. Don’t let your creativity, become an obstacle for the reader. If you’re grabbing attention with a pun, that’s not useful

Here’s an example of a fact-driven heading that suggests the topic, gives away an interesting fact, and builds curiosity:



Try anticipating questions. In this next example, instead of saying something like “Water Pressure On The Body At Depth”, the heading gives away the most important fact and a concrete example: “Pressure doubles at 10m”. Even if you don’t read the whole thing, you learn something just from the heading. However, you can confirm this fact by dragging the interactive diver to 10m and learning more details in the process:




Check out vladmalik.com/breath to learn more about breath-hold diving.

@VladMalik is an interaction designer and musician based in Toronto.
I enjoy breath-hold diving, weight-lifting, and chopping wood. I am vegan.

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