Take the 2-minute tour ×
User Experience Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for user experience researchers and experts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm currently designing and building a job board website.

I've started designing the page which shows a full job description posting once the user clicks through from a list of search results.

The one problem I'm facing is that the actual content just looks completely dull.

Its essentially just a text document with a set of sub-headings, copy and a couple of lists here and there.

What methods can I use to layout or style this kind of thing to make it look interesting, readable and not just seem like a dull word document whilst maintaining a professional look?

share|improve this question
5  
Are you sure the text looking dull isn't just because the text is dull? Maybe you need to revise the actual content itself. People read entire novels -- the text in itself looks dull, but it is what the text says that is the overriding factor of quality. –  Brendon Oct 28 '13 at 22:05
2  
I can't speak fully objectively, but from a subjective perspective what I want to see when I'm reading job descriptions is.. descriptions of the job. I don't want to see jazzy funky stuff just for the sake of it. I'm looking at it because I want to get the information about the job. Would you say that applications résumé / CVs are uninteresting because they only have text and headings? –  JonW Oct 29 '13 at 16:56

5 Answers 5

In order to make long text look interesting, you need to get busy reading about typography.

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2011/08/01/10-essential-books-on-typography/

In general, longer lines of type should make use of larger characters - in order to reduce the number of characters (or words) per line. Long lines of type using smaller characters (more words per line) are cumbersome and tiring to the eye. This is often why you will see long lines of type divided into multiple columns.

share|improve this answer
    
Agreed. I also definitely recommend this practicaltypography.com. I couldn't put it down. –  Mark Hazlewood Nov 4 '13 at 20:39

It sounds like you at least have something more than a wall of text and that you can fix your problem with some classic typography. Now, typography is a rather big subject that could not possibly fit into this answer. But here are some starting points.

First, if you're have no experience in typography consider hiring someone who is. A page that relies on only text needs special care. A good experience will appear in the detail care of line heights, color, size and balance.

Now, if you embark on this mission yourself, you should start by asking yourself a couple of questions about the style that you want to communicate. What do you want your users to feel? Joy? Seriousness, Bold?

Then you try to think about how you could explain these feelings through typography.

For details about how to create powerful typography in digital media read this site: http://webtypography.net/

For inspiration use sites like http://designspiration.net/

share|improve this answer

Engage the reader, break it up and make it easy to scan. Job descriptions should engage and trigger. There should be a short intro that sets the right tone and gets the gist of the message across. It should be easy to find vital information (required hours, salary, etc). And there should be an end that invites action. If those pieces are there and easy to scan for, it's not a problem if there is a lot of extra information. If the reader is interested in this job, he'll want to come back and read more about a bunch of details you'd normally skip over when first encountering the description.

In a broader sense, this is how you make long text interesting on a computer: http://www.nytimes.com/projects/2012/snow-fall/ http://www.nytimes.com/newsgraphics/2013/10/27/south-china-sea/

share|improve this answer
    
Unfortunately the content isn't something I have control over! Its more the formatting I was getting at. The content will be supplied by the employers themselves. The vital information such as salary, location etc.. is all housed in a panel next to the company logo at the top of the page. I thought this would give some interest at least –  Joe Taylor Oct 30 '13 at 23:11

If you've got a lot of text, remember that users skim and don't read online, so highlight important points, by using bold font for example.

You can also break it down by categorizing all the information and separating them in a logical way (experience, skills, education, etc), either by tabs or say an accordion.

Finally, since it's not a visual page, why not add some icons around the section to give the pages some spirit. This could be done in a classy professional way that will spice up your page while maintaining the career oriented purpose of it.

share|improve this answer
    
A good way to go if I had control of the content, however sadly I don't! I have set some fields though (job description, requirements, responsibilities etc...) which all have a nice heading and keyline above. Not sure on tabs/accordions though as I don't want to hide any information straight off the bat. Some users might not even know how these function and studies show that carousels (granted not quite the same but a similar premise) have awful click through rates. –  Joe Taylor Oct 30 '13 at 23:06

The formatting of the text has influence on the reading experience. Here are some resources and guidelines for formatting text on the web:

http://www.apaddedcell.com/7-simple-rules-for-formatting-text-on-the-web

http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2009/02/10-web-typography-rules-every-designer-should-know-2/

Here are some examples of website designs that are purely text based:

http://biz.leoraw.com/text-intensive-web-designs/

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.