Give them what they’re looking for

guide dogs

I was at the front of a very long cashpoint queue the other day. Which means I was trying to get my money and scarper as quickly as possible before the massed tutting turned to grievous bodily harm.

Anyway, having entered my card and PIN I was faced with a list of options. Scanning them quickly I couldn’t find what I was looking for. And because I couldn’t see the ‘Cash’ option I actually assumed for a second that the machine had run out of money. It was only on second inspection that I eventually found what I needed:

Withdrawal without receipt

Obviously it was my own fault for not reading properly the first time. But my behaviour was hardly atypical of someone at a busy cashpoint. And I’m probably a better skim reader than most.

What I was looking for was an option with the word ‘cash’ in it – it’s a cashpoint, I was trying to get cash out, I looked for ‘cash’. But because ‘cash’ wasn’t somewhere in the title, I couldn’t find what I needed quickly.

It’s not a biggie I know. But it’s definitely something to consider. Technical copywriters should never be vain enough to think people will give their work more than a passing glance. Readers use technical copy for information and they’ll search for that information as directly as possible.

So when I’m writing technical copy in the future, I’ll always try and give readers exactly what they’re looking for.

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