Most product descriptions include a section of dots – a succession of quick facts. It makes the information easy for the eye and the brain to scan. Buyers look at the lines or take them at a glance, matching the details with what they hunt or hope for.
Chips are an efficient format.
Still, bullet points can be made clumsily or well. They can read smoothly or represent an obstacle. They can captivate the reader or induce yawning.
Once you've created a draft of the points you want to set, use the tips below to make your points more readable, clearer and more tempting.
Making the balls readable
Because of their white space and formatting, chips are already catchy and easier to understand than paragraphs. However, several guiding principles help make the points even more readable.
According to studies by Nielsen Norman Group, a user experience consulting firm, people are paying more attention to what is at the beginning of any information section than in the end. What is in the middle of a ball attracts the least attention. Therefore, load the dots at the front by placing the most important word or concept first.
Before: With rigorous laboratory testing, quality is guaranteed
After: Quality assured by rigorous laboratory testing.
Before: Made in the United States from sheep wool from organic farming
After: United States-made from the wool of organic sheep
Plus, the longer your ball is, the more you can tell the difference by preceding it with a bold summary, as in the next screen shot.
Finally, each chip should not use more than two lines. Keep your punctuation consistent, with all the bullets ending in a period or not, for example. Avoid sub-chips, which add unnecessary visual complication. Do not use too many balls – no more than seven.
Do not number the points. This involves a logical or chronological sequence rather than a simple list.
Making the balls clear
Your chips should help buyers understand what makes the product and why it might interest them. There will likely be a specialized terminology in chips, so be sure to briefly explain the industry jargon to unfamiliar buyers.
A practical way to clarify technical points is to ask "so what?" Whenever you use them.
The following bullets are for Knit Freewaters knit shoes from Zappos. Note how well they help readers understand why they should be concerned about a "knit stalk", a "seamless design", an "insole", a "stitch" or a "knit sock" a "midsole" or a "rubber sole"
- "Top knit engineering with zoned open-knit breathability."
- "Seamless design provides an instant soft fit."
- "The super pillow insole is ergonomic and supportive with a great bounce."
- "Tall Boy midsole for maximum cushioning."
- "Rubber sole offering grip, flex and durability."
Never tease the consumer by citing an unspecified "secret ingredient" or by pretending, without saying why, that the article could save lives, for example.
Making the balls tempting
The lighter your ball is, the greater the impact. Get rid of each additional word. Omit verbs and fillers – "a", "an" and "the."
Avoid also exclamation points. They give the impression that you are trying to arouse the interest of the reader.
Zero on the interests of your audience, without losing details. Include not only dry facts and cold on the product, but also the "what" – how the item fits into a lifestyle or allows the user to do something.
On ThinkGeek.com, for example, a ball point for a Brute Squad States mug, "Hold your coffee or tea and remind you of your favorite movie." A description on BestBuy.com for a Garmin GPS device says, "You can set up three alternative routes so that you are ready to enjoy the road ahead."
How does the product solve problems? For example, PotteryBarn.com, in its description of an armchair, indicates how the materials prevent nuisances that are endemic to outdoor furniture:
- "Woven from durable synthetic Ecolene® that mimics the appearance and texture of wicker, but is remarkably resistant to sun, rain, heat and cold."
- "The core of resilient QuickDry® foam seat cushion is designed for quick drainage of water and air circulation."
Finally, if you can infuse points with the personality of your company, so much the better. Word choices and style can improve the relationship with your audience, as well as boost word-of-mouth by making product descriptions fun to read.