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English: Web 2.0's Universal Language


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  • 1. English: Web 2.0’s Universal Language. Clear, plain words from Kevin Smokler WebVisions 2007 May 4, 2007
  • 2. What I’ll Talk About... 1. Not-quite English II. What’s the matter with it? III. Why does it happen? IV. Simple solutions
  • 3. What is “Branding?”
  • 4. About Pzizz: “Pzizz combines music to soothe you, voice to inspire you and a binaural beat to help take you deep into a deeply relaxed and blissful state. The export feature means you can use pzizz anywhere you like. You can select the exact length of program and customize it to suit you.  pzizz will then generate a unique soundtrack for you - every single time you press "play" or "export". The clever little algorithm can create more than 100 billion combinations of soundtrack - so you'll never hear the same thing twice! Listen at your computer, export to MP3 player or burn to CD. It's your choice how and where you use pzizz to get more out of each day!
  • 5. What the heck is it?
  • 6. About Pzizz: “Pzizz is a piece of software you download to your desktop that plays randomized soothing music that helps you sleep.”
  • 7. Clear, Plain English
  • 8. George Orwell
  • 9. “Politics and the English Language” (1946) • Never use a long word when a short one will do • If you can cut a word, do. • Never use jargon if you can use an ordinary equivalent.
  • 10. Newsspeak
  • 11. Doublespeak
  • 12. “Involuntary Manslaughter of the English Language”
  • 13. Web 2.0: • Transparency • Honesty • Usability • Simplicity • Multi- and platform agnostic • Web based
  • 14. The Bug and the Fix:
  • 15. XSPF Player:
  • 16. XSPF Player: “XSPF Web Music Player is a flash-based web application that uses xspf playlist format to play mp3 songs. XSPF is the XML Shareable Playlist Format. The software is written in Actionscript 2.”
  • 17. Answers the Wrong Questions: I. How? II. How much? III. What matters and what doesn’t?
  • 18. XSPF Player: “XSPF Web Music Player is a shareware music player you can stick in your blog or website. ”
  • 19. Songbird: “Songbird is a desktop Web player, a digital jukebox and Web browser mash-up. Like Winamp, it supports extensions and skins feathers. Like Firefox, it is built from Mozilla, cross-platform and open source.”
  • 20. Music?
  • 21. Wrong Assumption, Wrong User
  • 22. Songbird: “A music player for your desktop that does a lot of cool stu iTunes doesn’t”
  • 23. “Giving the user what they need means knowing when to hold off on what they don’t.”
  • 24. B2B:
  • 25. Zimbra: “Zimbra is the leader in open source, next-generation collaboration and messaging software. We provide innovative experiences to end-users and their administrators because we see existing tools are fundamentally broken. We also believe in compatibility with existing infrastructure and applications (both open source and proprietary). Thus our solutions are cross-platform: including Linux and Mac OS X on the server-side; Windows, Linux and Mac on the desktop; and Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer browsers..”
  • 26. Whodidwhichinthewhatnow?
  • 27. The “Waiter” Rule: “Providing the right information at the right time, clearly and simply”
  • 28. What’s a Matta? • Obscures the fundamentals (What? How? How much?) • User frustration (At their most vulnerable!) • Bad whuffie • Poor separation from competitors • Bad media and press • The English Language itself
  • 29. English: • “The World’s First Universal Language” --The Economist (Dec. 20, 2001) • By 2050, half the world’s population. • International language of record for science, communications, business and the Internet. • Will only grow.
  • 30. Web 2.0, 3, 4 etc... • Always-on • Cross-platform • Inter-operable • Web-based
  • 31. “If we can’t communicate with our audience clearly, plainly and smoothly, someone else will.”
  • 32. Change is easy.
  • 33. How did we get here? • False Assumptions about users • Early development cloistering • Clubby alpha and beta testing • Lack of Resources
  • 34. Pre Alpha Testing: • You always know more than the user. • Ordinary Folk or “Mother-in-law test.” • Marketers play early. • Explain the pain, offer the cure. • What’s your symbol? “It’s like..”
  • 35. Meeting Detoxing: • Record • List • Invite Guests • Translate • Eliminates clubbing and cloistering. • Get out of the “Soft Trust Cage”
  • 36. Clarity Chieftain: • Marketing/ Copy Writing/ Biz Dev. • Not a product manager! • In early... • Must know everybody...
  • 37. The Benefits • Fewer wasted support resources • Happier, passionate users • Better and stronger press coverage • Room to scope-up
  • 38. The most successful products are the easiest to explain
  • 39. “Carry your music in your pocket”
  • 40. “A website to host and watch videos”
  • 41. “Cisco hardware, software, and service oerings are used to create the Internet solutions that make networks possible— providing easy access to information anywhere, at any time.”
  • 42. A Word on ROI: I. RSS II. Podcasting
  • 43. Where’s the Pizza? • What’s it do? • Who is it for? • How can you use it? • Half as useful as it should be.
  • 44. George Orwell
  • 45. Remember Orwell: • Simple • Economical • Clear
  • 46. Whodidwhichinthewhatnow?
  • 47. Let’s Get to Work. Kevin Smokler