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Have you ever wondered who designs trekking trails?

And how do they design them?

I kept asking this myself, as I was making my way through 10 miles a day for 6 days of hiking in Yosemite park in California.

There’s something beautiful about the way trails are designed there.

You see them and can follow them, yet they don’t stick out like s sore thumb.

There are trails and trails of course. Some can be poorly designed and planned.

That’s when you feel like you’re walking through a theme park.

But when you are able to immerse yourself in the experience and absorb the nature around you – but still find your way across it – that’s a sign of a well-thought-out trail.

I learned that there are a couple of things that Resource Managers keep into account when designing a trail.

Take control points…

You can have 2 types (from an article):

Positive Control Points — Positive control points are places where resource managers want users to visit, including scenic overlooks, historic sites, waterfalls, rock outcroppings, lakes, rivers, and other natural features or points of interest.

Negative Control Points — Negative control points are places resource managers want users to avoid (such as low-lying wet areas, flat ground, extremely steep cross slopes or cliffs, unstable soils, environmentally sensitive areas, sensitive archaeological sites, safety hazards, and private property).”

It’s incredible to see the similarities between this type of design and what we do with our copy and UX.

When writing copy you’ll inevitably create positive control points, features you want prospects to read about, benefits you want them to resonate with and internalize etc.

But you’ll also have negative control points, like objections readers might come up with (and that you need to address) and fears that prevent them from taking action (and that you have to mitigate) etc.

Your job is to deliberately and methodically design your copy and how it flows, to make sure your website visitors have a great experience – without them realizing you’re doing that for them.

There’s another important point here to understand:

You NEED to include ALL your positive control points. Or what will happen is that, like in a trail, users will pave their own way to the destination. In a likely unsustainable way.

That’s when they start camping where they’re not supposed to and leave trash behind them.

When we’re talking about copy that might mean that prospects reach misguided conclusions on their own. And then leave.

Or they don’t resonate with your brand’s voice. And yes, leave.

How are you designing your copy and flow?

Are your peeps following YOUR trail or trying to make their own, through steep vegetation and dangerous terrain?

If you want to get some help figuring it out, get in touch.

P.S.

Another client testimonial came in and I thought I’d share it for those who want a glimpse into what working with me looks like:

“Chris has massively improved our customer messaging and delivered real results without any hand holding. Highly recommended.” – Sam Cross, Founder and Proxy Specialist at ProxyRack

brain dump?

Every week I write about what I’m learning at my copywriting/UX desk ,with fun, insightful and quirky stories.

Let’s nerd about decision making, persuasion, habits, and conversion optimization.