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Dlig2011 techwriting

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Karen O'Hara's "TL;DR" Powerpoint for the Distance Learning Interest Group (DLIG) 2011 Spring Workshop.

Karen O'Hara's "TL;DR" Powerpoint for the Distance Learning Interest Group (DLIG) 2011 Spring Workshop.

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  • What designers think the site should include…
  • What the site should include
  • Transcript

    • 1. tl;dr INOV8 May 13, 2011 Karen O’Hara | IT Services | Miami University, Oxford, OH
    • 2. How long is “too long”?
    • 3. Let’s hear from a leading web usability wizard…
    • 4. Nielsen’s Alertbox column on Web usability, published on the Internet since 1995 Current readership: 12 million page views/year
    • 5.
      • What does Nielsen’s web usability research tell us?
    • 6. 1997 Users don't read on the web; they scan Nielsen, 1997
    • 7. 2005 ( teens ) have shorter attention spans , less patience for reading & prefer interactivity Nielsen, 2005
    • 8. 2008 Users read perhaps 20-28% of the words during the average website visit Nielsen, 2008
    • 9. 2010 ( undergrads ) dislike new interfaces , are goal-oriented & search dominant Nielsen, 2010
    • 10. 2011 Users struggle to understand complicated content on mobile devices Nielsen, 2011
    • 11. What does all of this tell us?
    • 12. Our audience is in a hurry!
    • 13. and…
    • 14. They read selectively
      • (Nielsen, 2006)
    • 15. and…
    • 16. Higher Ed users are frustrated
    • 17. http://xkcd.com/773/
    • 18. http://xkcd.com/773/
    • 19. How do we fix it?
    • 20. Design for…
      • need
      • speed
      • the “hook”
      • the micro
      • the macro
      • cognition (and translation)
      • the searcher
    • 21. 1. Design for need
      • Who will be visiting this site?
      • Why are they using this site?
      • What kind of information are they looking for?
      • Where will the information in the site be useful to them?
      • When will they use this information?
      • How might readers use this website?
      (Johnson-Sheehan, 2010)
    • 22. 2. Design for speed
      • Reduce the number of levels between your readers and the information they need.
        • a maximum of three links for the most important information.
        • a maximum of five links for 80 percent of all information.
        • a maximum of seven links for all information.
      (Johnson-Sheehan, 2010)
    • 23. 3. Design for the “hook”
      • A short bit of “blah-blah” might actually help users better understand the rest of the page
      • Stick to answering the What? and the Why? To bring readers into the site
      (Nielsen, 2007a)
    • 24. 4. Design for the micro
      • Highlight keywords (through hypertext links, typeface variations and color)
      • Use meaningful sub-headings (not "clever" ones)
      • Use bulleted lists
      • Design links that contain effective “information scent”
      (Nielsen, 1997) (Nielsen, 2009)
    • 25. 5. Design for the macro
      • Offer one idea per paragraph
      • Adopt the inverted pyramid style, starting with the conclusion
      • Provide half the word count (or less) than conventional writing
      (Nielsen, 1997)
    • 26. 6. Design for cognition ( & translation )
      • Supplement text with illustrations
      • Reduce text to a bare minimum
      • Create links that reflect titles (not “click here”)
      • Be as literal as possible
      • Minimize clichés, colloquialisms and humor
      (http://webaim.org/techniques/writing/#cog)
    • 27. 7. Design for the searcher
      • Accept search dominance & try to help users with poor research skills.
      • If there are two or more options to choose from, state them explicitly.
      • Design pages for how users search for information, rather than for how librarians (or IT professionals) think about it.
      (Nielsen, 2011)
    • 28. Be proactive
      • Plan for usability testing when rolling out new sites and features
      • Encourage development of Internet research skills in elementary schools.
      (Nielsen, 2007b) (Nielsen, 1995)
    • 29. An example over the years April, 2001 Today
    • 30. Good things, when short, are twice as good. — Gracián
    • 31. References
      • Johnson-Sheehan, R. (2010) Technical Communication Today, Third Edition. New York: Longman.
      • Nielsen, J. (1995, May). Card Sorting to Discover the Users’ Model of the Information Space. Retrieved April 25, 2011, from http://www.useit.com/papers/sun/cardsort.html
      • Nielsen, J. (1997, October 1). How Users Read on the Web. Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox . Retrieved April 25, 2011, from http://www.useit.com/alertbox/9710a.html
      • Nielsen, J. (2005, January 31). Usability of Websites for Teenagers. Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox . Retrieved April 25, 2011, from http://www.useit.com/alertbox/teenagers.html
      • Nielsen, J. (2006a, April 17). F-Shaped Pattern For Reading Web Content. Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox . Retrieved April 25, 2011, from http://www.useit.com/alertbox/reading_pattern.html
      • Nielsen, J. (2007a, October 1). Blah-Blah Text: Keep, Cut, or Kill? Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox . Retrieved April 25, 2011, from http://www.useit.com/alertbox/intro-text.html
      • Nielsen, J. (2007b, February 26). Life-Long Computer Skills. Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox . Retrieved April 25, 2011, from http://www.useit.com/alertbox/computer-skills.html
      • Nielsen, J. (2008, May 6). How Little Do Users Read? Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox . Retrieved April 25, 2011, from http://www.useit.com/alertbox/percent-text-read.html
      • Nielsen, J. (2009, April 6). First 2 Words: A Signal for the Scanning Eye. Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox . Retrieved April 25, 2011, from http://www.useit.com/alertbox/nanocontent.html
      • Nielsen, J. (2010, December 15). College Students on the Web: User Experience Guidelines. Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox . Retrieved April 25, 2011, from http://www.useit.com/alertbox/students.html
      • Nielsen, J. (2011, February 28). Mobile Content Is Twice as Difficult. Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox . Retrieved April 25, 2011, from http://www.useit.com/alertbox/mobile-content-comprehension.html
      • WebAIM: Writing Clearly and Simply. (n.d.). Retrieved April 25, 2011, from http://webaim.org/techniques/writing/#cog
      • xkcd.com. (n.d.). University Website. xkcd . Retrieved April 25, 2011, from http://xkcd.com/773/

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