Last month, we took a look at how prioritizing content is important when you design and create engaging pages that extend beyond the scroll using your Shopify theme.
This week, we’re actually returning to that time where there were these things called newspapers.
Newspapers, which still do exist, of course, featured the news of the day written by a team of journalists. However, there was often more news than could “fit” in on the pages — so editors would often have to cut off articles.
Because of this, these journalists used a style of writing known as the “inverted pyramid.”
As its name suggests, the inverted pyramid is essentially an upside down triangle — think of a triangle balancing on its “point.”
The idea was that you would put the most important and newsworthy facts at the top of the story — in this case the “wider” part of the triangle. As the story progressed, the details got less and less important.
The very bottom of the pyramid (where it’s narrowest) represents less vital and general information.
The reason for this writing style was that, when rushing to meet deadlines, editors might not have time to read the full story and move information around to make sure readers got all the important facts.
Essentially it let editors “cut off” paragraphs of the story to make it fit on the page without having to worry, at least on the surface, that essential information was being cut.
It also had a secondary advantage for readers who didn’t have the time or desire to read an entire article — they could generally get the key parts of the story by reading, say, the first third or so.
The inverted pyramid is a good analogy to think about in terms of prioritizing information on your pages, like we discussed last month.
The idea of taking a shape to illustrate this concept also brings up the other key factor in how your page information is shown on a page — presentation.
Newspapers and other printed publications also use a variety of design techniques to help explain the news or provide more information — whether it be a small photo of a person mentioned in the story or a “sidebar” column with background information or a bullet list of important events.
Digital design has borrowed heavily from print design in this respect — and, thanks to Shopify sections, you’re given a palette of presentation options to show your information in a variety of ways to keep things not only visually interesting but easier to understand.
First, look at the content you want to display for a particular point on your page. Inevitably, it will fall into one of these groups:
So, now it’s a matter of picking the right section type for your content:
When available, don’t forget to consider taking advantage of linking specific elements to other pages on your site that can provide more detailed information. Even if there isn’t a direct call to action, users interested in a specific object will often discover it’s clickable — which means more engagement with your content.
Combining the concept of prioritizing and presentation is the idea of creating pages that are “scannable.”
This refers to users (potential customers) “scanning” the page with their eyes.
Clean pages that are well laid out, have clear division, and use the best section type for the content being shown tend to be more scannable.
While scanning a page is, by definition, as a cursory onceover, this can be a key way to, quite literally, catch a shopper’s eye and get them to dig deeper and read your content in more detail.
Once you’ve hooked a user into investing in reading more information, it’s important to keep it easy for them to read and understand your content — and this can be achieved through a combination of design, presentation selection and, of course, providing compelling and useful information.
You can use a variety of design techniques to create visual separation between elements of your page to ensure it’s not only scannable but also readable.