Today we’re talking about product descriptions! While this blog post certainly won’t be comprehensive enough to cover everything you should have on your individual product page, it will cover how to write product descriptions and why they would be written that way.
The Wrong Way to Write a Product Description
Depending on what you sell, your product might have a lot of information that you want to tell your customers about. It can be tempting to dump everything into a paragraph in an attempt to be as informative as you can be (see “original” graphic), but I’m going to tell you why you shouldn’t do that:
The first (and most important reason) you should avoid big blocks of text is that it presents accessibility concerns. You’ll hear us talk about this a lot, because being aware of accessibility issues on your site is critical.
The second reason you should avoid writing in this fashion is because of a term called extraneous cognitive load. Extraneous cognitive load refers to things that bid for our attention and distract us from a task while we’re trying to obtain information. This, essentially, makes completing the task a lot harder for our brain. Almost anything that impedes our ability to learn falls into this category - even huge chunks of text.
When you write a product description that is one huge block of text, it is almost immediately overwhelming for the reader. Why is that, exactly? When there are no breaks in the text readers will often lose their place. Additionally, the human attention span isn’t phenomenal. This means that the more they have to focus when they’re scanning your product page, the less likely they are to make it through to a purchase.
The other thing to consider is that your customers are usually looking for specific pieces of information about your product, but if your product description is written in a big block of text they are going to have to work harder to find what they’re after. Plain and simple, writing product descriptions this way creates a barrier for purchase.
The Right Way to Write a Product Description
Now that you know what not to do, here are some basic guidelines for how you should write your product descriptions (see “updated” graphic).:
Identify product features that should be highlighted and put them in a list format. This layout provides easier readability, which reduces the mental effort exerted by the customer.
Be sure to choose descriptors that clearly communicate what you’re intending to.
Be mindful of font size, line height, and letter spacing.
Include necessary, but lengthier, pieces of information lower down on the product page. You can check out our blog about how to utilize a “read more” button on your page.
Follow best-practice suggestions for formatting larger pieces of information.
If product descriptions are something you’ve been struggling with, I hope this blog helps to guide you in the right direction. If you are interested in getting help with product pages on your Shopify site, you can reach out to us on our contact page.