A recent post on LinkedIn emphasized the key way to capture and hold someone’s attention is through storytelling.   Storytelling works on various levels beyond just the written word or visual and engages the user by allowing them to experience a situation (this can be seen on websites where a customer or user provides a testimonial or where a scenario is used to demonstrate a concept in a learning environment.)

These week’s discussion topics centred around Rosetta Stone, Readability and Storytelling, which can help shape a users experience on a site and determine if information is being conveyed through methods will be understood.  These are all ways to assist with engaging and guiding/directing the audience by using supporting imagery and clear language which members of the target audience can identify and relate with.  
Readability looks specifically at the written content and if it is presented in a simple manner using language that can be understood and doesn’t turn away readers (jargon, writing at too high a level or too low a level for the target group – good example of this is technical or scientific content).  Readability ensures that the content engages the audience to further explore the website.
Rosetta Stone outlines providing imagery or graphics which are common, universal or identifiable so that users can connect and relate to the information (if a website user cannot process or understand what they are seeing quickly, they will not stay long on the site but move on.)
The written words, visuals and multimedia components on the web work together as a complete package but should also tell a story/convey a message on its own or be understood individually. 
This leads me to touch on accessibility and ensuring that components are presented in both written, visual and audio formats. By delivering messages in different ways, users will be able to understand and correctly interpret the information presented based on their unique perspectives and needs.
One way to determine if your approach is effective would be to test your site, ad, or material with a sample of your intended audience similar to a focus group.  Another is for content creators to put themselves in the position of the audience and present content that would address the needs and questions of a user.