Writing For The Web M Anchester 23 Mar 09


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  • Writing For The Web M Anchester 23 Mar 09

    1. 1. Writing for the web Martin Bazley Manchester 23 March 2009
    2. 2. Intro: Martin Bazley <ul><li>Consultancy / websites / training / user testing ICT4Learning.com </li></ul><ul><li>Chair of E-Learning Group for Museums, Libraries and Archives link </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Previously: </li></ul></ul><ul><li>E-Learning Officer, MLA South East (3yrs) </li></ul><ul><li>Science Museum, London, Internet Projects </li></ul>
    3. 3. <ul><li>Why do I need to learn how to write for the web? </li></ul>
    4. 4. <ul><li>The web is different </li></ul>
    5. 5. <ul><li>People use the web differently… </li></ul>
    6. 6. <ul><li>… from the way they use books, object labels, magazines, newspapers, information screens, etc </li></ul>
    7. 7. <ul><li>For most people the web is a predominantly visual medium </li></ul>
    8. 10. <ul><li>We are all different and some people like to read all the text on a web page before deciding what to do next, even though a lot of it might be pretty redundant but most people – or at least most regular users of the web – scan ( as opposed to reading through them in detail) the web pages they are using, or at least the ones where they are still trying to work out where to go next </li></ul>
    9. 12. <ul><li>Implications of the F Pattern </li></ul><ul><li>The F pattern's implications for Web design are clear and show the importance of following the guidelines for writing for the Web instead of repurposing print content: </li></ul>
    10. 13. <ul><li>Users won't read your text thoroughly word-by-word. Exhaustive reading is rare, especially when browsing. Yes, some people will read more, but most won't. </li></ul>
    11. 14. <ul><li>The first two paragraphs must state the most important information . There's some hope that users will actually read this material – though they'll probably read more of the first paragraph than the second. </li></ul>
    12. 15. <ul><li>Start subheadings, paragraphs, and bullet points with information-carrying words that users will notice when scanning down the left side of your content in the final stem of their F-behaviour. They'll read the third word on a line much less often than the first two words. </li></ul>
    13. 16. <ul><li>If they have to work at it for example if they cannot see what they are looking for, or if it doesn’t make sense to them at first glance then most people – or at least many people who do a lot of searching or browsing on the web just decide that this particular site is not for them, and anyway they have a long list of other search results or ideas to try and so they go elsewhere </li></ul>
    14. 17. <ul><li>Exercise: Make this web page better </li></ul>
    15. 21. <ul><li>About website structure, ways people use the web and implications for writing for the web </li></ul>
    16. 22. <ul><li>Certain types of websites impose linear user journeys: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>TheTrainline.com </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cinema ticket bookings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Self assessment tax return online </li></ul></ul>
    17. 24. <ul><li>In most websites, although there are some linear elements … </li></ul>
    18. 26. <ul><li>… people like to have other pathways available to them… </li></ul>
    19. 27. <ul><li>… and most journeys are very non-linear </li></ul>
    20. 28. <ul><li>Visual clues and context influence people’s responses </li></ul>
    21. 29. <ul><li>Also, most people reach your website via Google </li></ul><ul><li>Only 5% arrive at your website on the home page </li></ul>
    22. 30. <ul><li>Most of the other 95% may not have had your site in mind when searching </li></ul>
    23. 31. <ul><li>30% of them go to home page to ‘try and work out what this site is about’ </li></ul>
    24. 32. <ul><li>So each page on the site must quickly: </li></ul><ul><li>engage users and </li></ul><ul><li>give sense of what site is about – otherwise most will leave </li></ul>
    25. 33. <ul><li>‘Writing for the web’ is not just about text… </li></ul>
    26. 34. <ul><li>… but also choosing the right images </li></ul><ul><li>… layouts </li></ul><ul><li>… graphical look and feel </li></ul><ul><li>…website structure </li></ul><ul><li>etc etc </li></ul>
    27. 35. Key point of paragraph/ section Image clearly related to text Broken into short paras
    28. 36. Short video guides <ul><li>http://www.mediabistro.com/guidelines-for-writing-online-12-ondemandvideo.html (sample) </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AoU2yANNxRs&eurl=http://inside.123-reg.co.uk/archives/video-writing-your-web-copy </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2C3lDeY6uWc&feature=related (good advice but v slow) </li></ul><ul><li>Writing web headlines http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBg7dJIfHM0 </li></ul>
    29. 37. <ul><li>Short writing exercises </li></ul>
    30. 38. Decide where in the site this will be Add a title Short, clear summary Write a few sentences. Add subheading Few more sentences Banner
    31. 39. Title Add a summary? Each ‘promo’ needs Title Image? One-line descn Links to related points elsewhere in this site Where in the site is this?
    32. 40. Some examples <ul><ul><li>http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nature-online/british-natural-history/index.html </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.manchestergalleries.org/the-collections/highlights-of-the-collection/narrativeobject.php?irn =876 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>www.seayourhistory.org.uk/content/view/39/77/ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.portsmouth.gov.uk/business/2781.html </li></ul></ul>
    33. 43. Resources for use on whiteboards - examples <ul><li>Britons at War </li></ul><ul><li>Wartime in Bedford </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.movinghere.org.uk/schools/default.htm </li></ul><ul><li>www.mylearning.org/overview.asp?journeyid =409 </li></ul><ul><li>www.mylearning.org/overview.asp?journeyid =441 </li></ul>
    34. 44. Examples <ul><li>http://collections.lancsmuseums.gov.uk/narratives/ </li></ul><ul><li>Peoples Hist </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.tameside.gov.uk/archives </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.sthelens.gov.uk/category.do?parent=100009&itemid=200070 </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.lapworth.bham.ac.uk/visiting.htm </li></ul>
    35. 45. Using whiteboards <ul><li>http:// www.teachers.tv/ict/whiteboardtips </li></ul><ul><li>http:// smarttech.com/trainingcenter/tutorials.asp # </li></ul><ul><li>http:// www.prometheanplanet.com </li></ul>
    36. 46. Resources for use on whiteboards - examples <ul><li>Ford Madox Brown MAG </li></ul><ul><li>Tate Tools </li></ul><ul><li>Museum Network Artworks </li></ul><ul><li>Museum Network Myths </li></ul><ul><li>National Portrait Gallery Mary Seacole </li></ul><ul><li>National Gallery </li></ul><ul><li>Museum of London Fire of London </li></ul>
    37. 47. Website users <ul><li>Who uses your website? </li></ul><ul><li>Why would they want to use it? </li></ul><ul><li>How would they find it? </li></ul><ul><li>What do they get out of it? </li></ul><ul><li>What do they dislike about it? </li></ul>
    38. 56. Website users <ul><li>‘ User A’ may like the depth of material available in their preferred section… </li></ul><ul><li>… but dislike the time it takes to download the two high quality images in it </li></ul><ul><li>‘ User B’ may find the amount of text off-putting… </li></ul><ul><li>… but be drawn in nevertheless by the impact of the two images </li></ul><ul><li>How do you get it right for everyone? </li></ul>
    39. 57. Website users <ul><li>‘ User X’ is only on this site because she saw the story about Amy Winehouse… </li></ul><ul><li>… and is messaging her friends about it while trying to find out more </li></ul><ul><li>‘ User Y’ is drafting a letter of complaint about the website to his M.P. at this very moment… </li></ul><ul><li>How do you get it right for everyone? </li></ul>
    40. 58. How do you get it right for everyone? <ul><li>Answer: </li></ul><ul><li>You can’t get it right for everyone. </li></ul><ul><li>You have to make choices, and stick to them: </li></ul><ul><li>Who is it for? </li></ul><ul><li>What.. </li></ul><ul><li>How… </li></ul>
    41. 59. Who for what for ... <ul><li>Who for? (audience) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Need to be clear from start </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>mum + 2 children looking for something to do this weekend </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>teachers of yr5/6 in local area with whiteboards </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>men interested in gadgets </li></ul></ul></ul>
    42. 60. Who for what for ... <ul><li>What ‘real-world’ outcomes? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What will they do as a result of using the site? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>make a donation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>plan a visit to a museum </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>buy a train ticket </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>think differently about learning disability </li></ul></ul></ul>
    43. 61. Who for what for ... <ul><li>How will they use it? (user experience) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What do they actually do on the site? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>browse and read articles </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>working alone or in pairs? (learning resources) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>lean forward or sit back? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Browsing, following, searching… </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Also Where, When and Why ? </li></ul>
    44. 62. Who for what for ... <ul><li>Website appraisal </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For each example note first impressions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Who is it for? </li></ul><ul><li>What does it offer them? </li></ul><ul><li>How will they use it? </li></ul>
    45. 63. Websites for different audiences <ul><li>The following tips are based on </li></ul><ul><li>numerous evaluation sessions </li></ul><ul><li>numerous user testing sessions </li></ul><ul><li>talking to other people who use websites </li></ul><ul><li>talking to other people who make websites </li></ul>
    46. 64. ‘General users’ <ul><li>There is no such thing as a general user </li></ul><ul><li>Are you a general user? </li></ul>
    47. 65. Adults/families with general interest <ul><li>What does the site tell me at a glance? </li></ul><ul><li>genuine enthusiasts = interested whatever the website looks like, and will spend some time looking around it or phone up for more information if required. </li></ul>
    48. 66. Adults/families with general interest <ul><li>But most will not bother unless something engages them within a few seconds </li></ul><ul><li>The questions people might like answered within a few seconds of arriving on a museum site probably include: </li></ul>
    49. 67. Adults/families with general interest <ul><li>Where is it? Further down the home page it says ‘alongside Middle Wallop airfield’ but I have no idea where that is. </li></ul><ul><li>a schematic map on every page, or at least on the home page and visit info, would really help in attracting visitors who don’t know the area </li></ul>
    50. 68. Adults/families with general interest <ul><li>What’s the rough cost and roughly how long might I/we want to spend there? This would give me an idea of whether to view it as a place to pop into on the way somewhere or combine it with another attraction; or whether it requires more serious investment of time or money </li></ul>
    51. 69. Adults/families with general interest <ul><li>What kind of experience will I get? I know there will be ‘displays’ – it is a museum! </li></ul><ul><li>but will there be people around to help bring the place alive for me, my spouse, my children or friends? </li></ul><ul><li>– or are there events, or things to do like dressing up in a pilot’s uniform, or games to play, etc? </li></ul>
    52. 70. Websites for schools <ul><li>‘ Serve the National Curriculum’ or ‘extend or enhance’? </li></ul><ul><li>‘ enhance’ sounds good but most teachers want : </li></ul><ul><li>curriculum specific – by all means cross-curricular but with one scheme of work or topic as ‘headline’ (think ‘product byline’) </li></ul><ul><li>ready-to-use – teachers may want to adapt to their own situation (esp second time round), but most will not have time – offer at least one ready to use version </li></ul><ul><li>minimal preparation and with time commitment (preparation time and class time) clearly specified </li></ul><ul><li>flexible/adaptable/extensible where possible </li></ul>
    53. 71. Foundation and KS1 (3-7yrs) <ul><li>Production of materials for this age range is particularly tricky: </li></ul><ul><li>aim at teachers not children, so… </li></ul><ul><li>good bank of images, videos or other mainly visual assets </li></ul><ul><li>think of interactive whiteboards </li></ul>
    54. 72. Key Stage 2 ( 7 to 11 years old) <ul><li>keep no of words on each page to a minimum, say 50 in total </li></ul><ul><li>illustrate key ideas visually as well as verbally and use audio if possible </li></ul><ul><li>do not assume that the teacher can be over their shoulder at all points – so keep the instructions and processes simple </li></ul><ul><li>try to use language, images, ideas, and settings that will appeal to the target audience </li></ul>
    55. 73. Key Stage 3 ( 11 to 14 years old) <ul><li>For KS2 a cross-curricular approach is OK (for example they may use the same site for Geography and Science) but: </li></ul><ul><li>At KS3 cater for a single subject (and scheme of work) </li></ul><ul><li>(Can offer suggestions for cross-curricular working, but remember generally each teacher teachers only one subject each.) </li></ul>
    56. 74. ‘ Lifelong learners’ <ul><li>for (non-specialist) interest level think of 12 yr olds </li></ul><ul><li>Identify a particular audience with specific interests/motivations for using your site </li></ul><ul><li>then focus on constraints to allow successful design to proceed. (In a formal learning setting constraints often implicit in the course, physical set up etc.) </li></ul>
    57. 75. Specialist researchers <ul><li>Fact-oriented, less graphics and design, more text and specifically relevant images, with good search facility </li></ul><ul><li>Examples of specialist researchers: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>HE students and staff </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>experts or enthusiasts in this subject area </li></ul></ul>
    58. 76. Accessibility tips <ul><li>www.w3.org/WAI/References/QuickTips/Overview.php </li></ul><ul><li>Images & animations : Use the alt attribute to describe the function of each visual. </li></ul><ul><li>Image maps. Use the client-side map and text for hotspots . </li></ul><ul><li>Multimedia. Provide captioning and transcripts of audio , and descriptions of video . </li></ul><ul><li>Hypertext links . Use text that makes sense when read out of context. For example, avoid &quot;click here.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>Frames. Use the noframes element and meaningful titles . </li></ul><ul><li>Etc, etc. Also: </li></ul><ul><li>http://diveintoaccessibility.org </li></ul><ul><li>Illustrates real life implications e.g. Javascript </li></ul>
    59. 77. <ul><li>Accessibility </li></ul><ul><li>A website can achieve AAA level accessibility (www.w3.org/WAI/ ) based on automated tests, and yet be almost unusable by many users </li></ul>
    60. 78. <ul><li>Improving general usability for a wide range of user types yields the best results. </li></ul><ul><li>City University audit (2005): </li></ul><ul><li>4 out of 8 technical checkpoints that cause the majority of web access problems for disabled users relate to writing and laying out textual content . </li></ul>
    61. 79. <ul><li>To improve accessibility: </li></ul><ul><li>1. divide blocks of information into more manageable units </li></ul><ul><li>2. provide a text equivalent for every non-text element </li></ul><ul><li>3. clearly identify the target of each link </li></ul><ul><li>4. use the clearest and simplest language appropriate for the site’s content </li></ul><ul><li>(from enableUK – accessibility specialist) </li></ul>
    62. 80. <ul><li>Search Engine Optimisation </li></ul><ul><li>- article </li></ul>
    63. 81. <ul><li>E-Newsletters </li></ul>
    64. 82. <ul><li>Blogs can serve as marketing tools </li></ul><ul><li>http://technorati.com/tag/campaign+for+drawing </li></ul><ul><li>http://technorati.com/tag/The+Big+Draw </li></ul>
    65. 83. More info from: Martin Bazley www. ICT 4 Learning .com
    66. 84. Introduction to (we)b logging <ul><li>http://weblogs.about.com/od/bloggingtips/tp/TipsBeginnerBloggers.htm </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.nirmaltv.com/2007/08/10/7-blogging-tips-for-beginners/ </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.romancetracker.com/3-ways-your-blog-can-get-you-a-hot-date/ </li></ul>
    67. 85. How do people find blogs? <ul><li>http:// technorati.com/search/gardening?language =en </li></ul><ul><li>www.google.com Google roses greenfly blog (inc gardenbanter ) </li></ul>
    68. 86. <ul><li>Getting images ready for blogs </li></ul>
    69. 87. Images: What do you need to do? <ul><li>- reduce image size to max 600 pixels to fit layout </li></ul><ul><li>- reduce download time and reduce Bytes used </li></ul><ul><li>- avoid image distortion </li></ul><ul><li>If you crop the image, keep aspect ratio of the original image (3:2 or 4:3). </li></ul>
    70. 88. <ul><li>Blogging practice </li></ul>
    71. 89. Write a short blog post <ul><li>This is just practice, so don’t worry too much about accuracy or relevance. </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on: </li></ul><ul><li>Title and context </li></ul><ul><li>Clear and concise </li></ul><ul><li>Style / voice </li></ul><ul><li>Engagement – hook and encourage comments </li></ul>
    72. 90. More help and advice from: Martin Bazley www. MartinBazley .com