Writing Web Content that Works

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From a half-day workshop at UxLx (User Experience - Lisbon) 2012

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Writing Web Content that Works

  1. Writing Web Content that WorksJanice (Ginny) Redish, Ph.D.Redish & Associates, Inc.Bethesda, Maryland, USA+1 301−229−3039ginny@redish.netwww.redish.net @GinnyRedish May 2012
  2. Redish & Associates, Inc. Topics for this morning  Setting the context  Planning successful conversations  Answering site visitors’ questions  Organizing the conversation  Writing the conversation  Checking for success © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 2
  3. Setting the context © iStockphoto
  4. Redish & Associates, Inc. Sharing stories You use web sites that others have developed.  When did you last go to the web?  Why did you go to the web?  What were you trying to do or what were you looking for? Share your story with your neighbor. Flickr cc photo by theworldcafe © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 4
  5. Redish & Associates, Inc. What do people want from web sites? Content Information To do a task To satisfy their goals People just want to  get an answer  do a task © iStockphoto  solve a problem  engage in a social conversation © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 5
  6. Redish & Associates, Inc. Navigation and search are critical © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 6
  7. Redish & Associates, Inc. Good, clear design is critical © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 7
  8. Redish & Associates, Inc. Technology that works is critical © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 8
  9. Redish & Associates, Inc. But they all support the content © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 9
  10. Redish & Associates, Inc. Every use of your web site is a conversation started by the site visitor trails © iStockphoto How well does your site converse with your site visitors? © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 10
  11. Redish & Associates, Inc. You site converses well only if… Your site visitors can  find what they need  understand what they find  act appropriately on that understanding in the time and effort that they think it is worth Find Understand Act © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 11
  12. Redish & Associates, Inc. Your web content must meet both... Your site visitors Your goals goals (and their reality) Successful web content and conversations If you dont design for your site visitors realities, you are not likely to meet your goals! © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 12
  13. Planning successfulconversations Flickr cc photo by Polandeze
  14. Redish & Associates, Inc. Plan before you write Think first. Write second. Why? (your purposes) Who? (your site visitors, personas) When and why? (your site visitors’ goals, tasks, conversations) © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 14
  15. Redish & Associates, Inc. Why? (your purposes)  Align with the business overall strategy and goals  Be specific  Be measurable  Focus on your site visitors / readers € © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 15
  16. Redish & Associates, Inc. Be specific Kenneth W. Davis http://www.manageyourwriting © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 16
  17. Redish & Associates, Inc. Be measurable When you write what do you want this type of content to happen? Proposal Email to get funding to go to a conference Report with recommendations Instructions © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 17
  18. Redish & Associates, Inc. Focus on your site visitors We want to sell products have people buy our products inform people about ... answer peoples questions about … tell people how to do [this task] have people do the task correctly © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 18
  19. Redish & Associates, Inc. Who? (Your personas) Whom are you conversing with?  Name each group.  Travelers  frequent  occasional © iStockphoto  Hip, young professionals  Seniors Always name people. ✗ Travel agencies  Travel agents © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 19
  20. Redish & Associates, Inc. What should you keep in mind about these people?  Add adjectives or phrases that describe them.  Examples: No time. Don’t  time constraints (busy? multi-tasking?) want to read. Just give me the  attitudes (worried? curious?) information.  subject matter knowledge  primary language  reading ability  computer and web experience Not what content they are looking for. Well get to that later. © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 20
  21. Redish & Associates, Inc. Create personas to converse with Epcor Utilities, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, used with permission © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 21
  22. Redish & Associates, Inc. When and why? (Site visitor’s conversations) © iStockphoto Flickr photo by rogerfer © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 22
  23. Answeringsite visitors’questions © iStockphoto
  24. Redish & Associates, Inc. What types of pages does a typical site have? Multi-purpose Navigation Destination – place to do the task © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 24
  25. Redish & Associates, Inc. www.napaanesthesia.com © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 25
  26. Redish & Associates, Inc. © iStockphoto www.vizergy.com © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 26
  27. Redish & Associates, Inc. © iStockphoto © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 27
  28. Redish & Associates, Inc.© iStockphoto www.ebags.com © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 28
  29. Redish & Associates, Inc.Flickr cc photoby Mr.Thomas www.mint.com © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 29
  30. Redish & Associates, Inc. © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 30
  31. Redish & Associates, Inc. © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 31
  32. Redish & Associates, Inc. Summarizing so far  Content = conversation.  Site visitors start the conversation.  Know your purposes, your personas, their conversations.  Converse with your personas.  “Hear” what they are asking and answer their questions.  Don’t hog the conversation – keep it short.  Make it personal.  Make it visual. © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 32
  33. Redish & Associates, Inc. Break After the break  Organizing – headlines, headings, key message first, bite / snack / meal  Writing the conversation – sentences and words  Checking for success © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 33
  34. Organizing the conversation Flickr cc photo by Moonpir Flickr cc photo by russelljsmith
  35. www.cdc.gov(old article)
  36. Don’t lecture.Don’t hog the conversation.Take turns.“Hear” the site visitor’snext question. www.netdoctor.co.uk/diseases/facts/asthmachildren.htm
  37. Break your contentinto pieceswith headings.Verbs – calls to actionmake good headings.Notice the differencein headlines:Physical ExercisePhysical Exercise:Getting Started
  38. Redish & Associates, Inc. For articles, use a medium length headline Study by Outbrain.com, reported by Kelly Reeves, June 3, 2011 http://www.contentmarketinginstitute.com/2011/06/headline-click-through-rate/ © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 39
  39. Redish & Associates, Inc. Include informative headings  Headings help by  breaking up the information  making the information manageable  creating visual separation on the web page  drawing the eyes  providing context so people can make sense of what follows If you write page titles, headlines, and headings  Thinking about headings using site visitors key words, helps authors analyze your pages will come up high the information. in search engine results. © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 40
  40. Redish & Associates, Inc. © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 41
  41. Redish & Associates, Inc. Start with your key message “Hear” your site visitor’s question after each sentence you write. © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 42
  42. Redish & Associates, Inc. Nielsen and Pernice, Eye-Tracking Web Usability Also, see Redish, Letting Go of the Words, 102 – 106 © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 43
  43. Redish & Associates, Inc. Layer information (bite, snack, meal) Bite: Snack: Meal: headline quick summary; details key message first Even the whole meal should be easy to digest. Concept from Leslie OFlahavan www.ewriteonline.com NSF news example © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 44
  44. Writing the conversation ✗ ✔
  45. Redish & Associates, Inc. Keep it short and easy to scan Find Understand Act I make jewelry. If I want to sell through Etsy, how does it work?Flickr cc photoby pedrosimeos7 © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 46
  46. Redish & Associates, Inc. Converse with your site visitor Caroline Jarrett Gerry Gaffney © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 47
  47. Redish & Associates, Inc. Use pronouns Pricing of our services is dependent on the level of assistance and service chosen. Our prices depend on how much help you need and what we do for you. © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 48
  48. Redish & Associates, Inc. Focus on action − verbs, not nouns Upon successful completion of the online renewal transaction, printing the membership card will be an option. When you finish renewing online, you can print your membership card. Renew online. Then, print your membership card. © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 49
  49. Redish & Associates, Inc. Use the shortest, simplest word with the right meaning  We all read the short, simple, common words faster.  People inside an organization overestimate the words people outside know by about 30 percent. ✗ "dumbing down" ✔ respecting your busy site visitors time © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 50
  50. Redish & Associates, Inc. Helping low-literacy users helps everyone Summers, K. and Summers, M., 2005, Reading and Navigational Strategies of Web Users with Lower Literacy Skills, ASSIST 2005, available from http://iat.ubalt.edu/summers/ © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 51
  51. Redish & Associates, Inc. Whats wrong with this sentence? Interested persons, on or before June 14, 2013, may submit to the Hearing Clerk, 1000 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20000, written comments regarding this proposal. Faxed comments will be accepted at 202-555-1234. To submit comments electronically, go to this site: © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 52
  52. Redish & Associates, Inc. Always, think “conversation” Try it. © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 53
  53. Checking for success Flickr cc photo by Per Ola Wiberg (Powi)..away
  54. Redish & Associates, Inc. Read, edit, revise, collaborate  First draft ≠ final draft  Read your work out loud.  Ask someone else to read it out loud.  Don’t ask if they liked it.  Ask what message they got from it.  Listen! Then revise.  Work together. Flickr cc photo by wakacheeka © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 55
  55. Redish & Associates, Inc. Do usability testing www.usability.gov © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 56
  56. Redish & Associates, Inc. Walk your personas through their conversations ✔ © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 57
  57. Redish & Associates, Inc. @GinnyRedish Thank you Obrigada Ginny Redish Janice (Ginny) Redish Redish & Associates, Inc. Bethesda, MD, USA ginny@redish.net www.redish.net +1 301 229 3039 © 2012, Janice (Ginny) Redish Writing Web Content that Works Slide 58

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