As you stroll through the airport toward the plane that will fly you across the country, you find yourself impressed with the technological modernity of the airport. You marvel at the air traffic control system that alerts you to any delays. You board the plane, noting with interest the technological controls that enable the pilot to deliver you safely to your destination. You feel awe and gratitude that you live in an era of such technological sophistication.
Then, you behold the narrow little seat to which you will be confined for the next several hours. You try and settle yourself, but have no room to even extract your laptop from its bag. By take-off, you are already cramped, uncomfortable, and bored, and you still have five hours to go. In your misery you have forgotten all about your positive feelings toward the technologically impressive airport and controls. When the flight is finally over, you swear to never, ever fly on that airline again.
Writing, when compared to necessary and expensive technologies for designing and implementing websites, can seem too simple to spend money on, too simple to hire a professional to produce. But consider the flight experience described above. The seat is simple too, especially compared to the huge airport, the air traffic control system, and the plane’s engines and instruments. But the main difference between a first class experience and a regular one is pretty much all about the seat. And many people happily pay twice as much to improve that simple, basic element of the flight experience.
Writing comprises the largest portion of what users see and engage with on your site, just as an airplane seat comprises the largest portion of your flight experience. So, if the writing is of poor quality, if it is unprofessional, your website, no matter how well designed and implemented, will seem so as well. In fact, users might attribute those qualities not only to your website, but to your organization and its offerings, just as you attributed the quality of the uncomfortable airplane seat to the entire airline. Therefore, the writing for your website must meet the high standards you set, not only for its other elements, but for your organization’s offerings and its reputation.
Like airports and airplanes, good websites are sophisticated technological productions. But also like airports and airplanes, the satisfaction with the technology can be quickly lost if the simple element with which users engage most intimately is unsatisfactory. You don’t want your constituents, like a disgruntled flight passenger, to leave your site swearing to never, ever return.
For both airplane seats and writing, it’s the simplest thing that can make or break a first class experience.