Creators Code: How to Avoid

Death by Words
A Checklist for Creators: 10 Ways to
Improve IX, the UX of Information
©2013 S...
Why care about IX (Information Experience)?
Impressions are made everywhere and
everytime: Everyone judges your product by...
Agenda: 10 ways to avoid death by words
How to avoid:
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●

Common traps: Write, edit, and prepare content
Suic...
1. Common traps: Write
● Be human, write for the humans, not for devices
● Write for your audience (Normal users? Admins?
...
2. Common traps: Edit
● Remove words that are:
○ Unwanted
○ Ambiguous
○ Hurtful, sarcastic, or controversial

● Check for ...
3. Common traps: Prepare
● Spell check everything (UI elements, web pages, error
messages, emails)
● Proof read for right ...
4. Suicide: Inside the product (in-app)
● First-use experience
○
○

Guide users how to use core functions with warm, welco...
5. Poison: Outside the product
● Website:
○ Ensure users can easily navigate, sign-in and sign-out, find
help, and contact...
6. Infections: Interacting with users
●

●

●

Be nice:
○ Talk to them like you would talk to close family and friends
○ S...
7. Conspiracy: Support
● Problems:
○ Diagnose the issue before starting to fix a problem
○ Sometimes users think it’s a pr...
7. Conspiracy: Support (Continued)
●

●
●

Emails/IM:
○ Read users’ emails/messages before responding
○ Collate requests a...
8. Trial: Documentation
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●

A rough draft is better than nothing
Organize and visually separate topics based ...
9. Prison: Blog
● Write about topics that help and entertain users
● Great place to talk about your product updates, timel...
10. Hanged: Social
● Use social media platforms to build relationships and
engage with users
● It’s about your company’s b...
What does it all mean for your business?
● Less support calls/requests -> more savings
● High user recommendations and rat...
Need Help? Questions? Suggestions?
Contact me!
Ongoing Retainer

Full-day Workshop

Let me keep a tab on
all your content ...
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Creators Code: How to Avoid Death by Words

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A Checklist for Creators: 10 Ways to Improve IX, the UX of Information

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Creators Code: How to Avoid Death by Words

  1. 1. Creators Code: How to Avoid Death by Words A Checklist for Creators: 10 Ways to Improve IX, the UX of Information ©2013 Sridhar Machani http://google.com/+SridharMachani
  2. 2. Why care about IX (Information Experience)? Impressions are made everywhere and everytime: Everyone judges your product by what they see, hear, and read about your product. Buying decisions are made at almost every such impression, or the user experience (UX). Test: Have you ever bought a product or subscribed to a service that had spelling mistakes, confusing text, ugly looks, or reputation of badmouthing users?
  3. 3. Agenda: 10 ways to avoid death by words How to avoid: ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● Common traps: Write, edit, and prepare content Suicide: Inside the product (in-app) Poison: Outside the product Infections: Interacting with users Conspiracy: Support Trial: Documentation Prison: Blog Execution: Social
  4. 4. 1. Common traps: Write ● Be human, write for the humans, not for devices ● Write for your audience (Normal users? Admins? Developers?) ● Keep it informal, active, direct, and simple ● Separate content by concepts, procedures, and references (where possible) ● Use screen-shots/images, flow-charts, and videos if words are not enough ● Don’t steal content (there’s no undo online)
  5. 5. 2. Common traps: Edit ● Remove words that are: ○ Unwanted ○ Ambiguous ○ Hurtful, sarcastic, or controversial ● Check for consistent usage of words and style (use either UI or user interface throughout)
  6. 6. 3. Common traps: Prepare ● Spell check everything (UI elements, web pages, error messages, emails) ● Proof read for right meaning and context (‘trial’ and ‘trail’ are both correct spellings, but which one do you mean?) ● Use readable font size and styles (purple text on black background is unreadable) ● Repeat the cycle; get more eyes to review
  7. 7. 4. Suicide: Inside the product (in-app) ● First-use experience ○ ○ Guide users how to use core functions with warm, welcoming words Show how to get back to home page/screen and how to get help ● Retain known names and shortcuts for common tasks in the UI ● Take permissions and inform users about delicate tasks (saving personal data or sending data to third-party apps) ● Notifications ○ ○ ○ ● Don’t disturb users when they’re sad/angry (I wish we knew how :-)) Interrupt only if you must Show meaningful messages Remove clutter and distractions
  8. 8. 5. Poison: Outside the product ● Website: ○ Ensure users can easily navigate, sign-in and sign-out, find help, and contact you ○ Tell them who you are ● App stores: ○ Tell users what works, what doesn’t ○ Tell them what is free, what’s not ● Newsletters/Brochures: Tell stories, try not to sell on every page ● Ads: ○ Show or talk about your core functions, not every feature ○ Don’t clutter
  9. 9. 6. Infections: Interacting with users ● ● ● Be nice: ○ Talk to them like you would talk to close family and friends ○ Show empathy and the benefit of doubt - you don’t know what battles they’re fighting Be fair: ○ Keep promises - nobody forgets what’s due to them ○ Don’t argue - you’ll be a loser even if you win ○ If they’ve made mistakes, give them a chance to exit or come good Be transparent: ○ If you’ve made a mistake, admit it ○ Don’t mislead them, especially in matters of money and privacy
  10. 10. 7. Conspiracy: Support ● Problems: ○ Diagnose the issue before starting to fix a problem ○ Sometimes users think it’s a problem, but it may not be, or it may lie somewhere else ○ Set expectations - price, terms, what is/is not covered, ETA ○ Watch out for users who complain, and more so for those who don’t complain at all ● Forms (in-app): ○ Gather information that you really need to fix an issue ○ Avoid collecting or storing sensitive data
  11. 11. 7. Conspiracy: Support (Continued) ● ● ● Emails/IM: ○ Read users’ emails/messages before responding ○ Collate requests and instructions, instead of sending an email/message for each item Forum: ○ Monitor, moderate, and respond in reasonable times Phone: ○ It’s better to use phone calls for escalations or critical functions ○ Unless you can sustain quality phone support, stick to emails/forums ○ On a call, be patient, soft, and courteous, and hear the users out
  12. 12. 8. Trial: Documentation ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● A rough draft is better than nothing Organize and visually separate topics based on concepts, procedures (install, upgrade, configure, customize), and references Publish PDF, HTML guides (some of us still like to print and read) Videos are great for users with high Internet bandwidth - for others, publish audio and transcript versions of the videos Involve writers early in the game - from planning and design Involve support teams to identify areas of focus that need extensive documentation (more screenshots and examples) Send beta docs to some users for early reviews and bug fixes It’s a constant cycle - draft, review, fix/update, publish
  13. 13. 9. Prison: Blog ● Write about topics that help and entertain users ● Great place to talk about your product updates, timelines, plans, and teams ● Write about industry topics and win brownie points ● Keep it official, not such a good idea to talk about your family problems ● Be prepared for all kinds of user comments - it’s up to you to moderate it, just let the users know about it
  14. 14. 10. Hanged: Social ● Use social media platforms to build relationships and engage with users ● It’s about your company’s brand - what it stands for ● Post and respond regularly ● Be careful what you write/share - it can’t be taken back ● Analyze and identify trends - no news is generally NOT good news out there
  15. 15. What does it all mean for your business? ● Less support calls/requests -> more savings ● High user recommendations and ratings -> growth in users and revenue ● Users' trust and confidence -> easier to upsell and market other products Good information experience can bridge a lot of gaps
  16. 16. Need Help? Questions? Suggestions? Contact me! Ongoing Retainer Full-day Workshop Let me keep a tab on all your content on a weekly or monthly basis Organize a group learning session for your team for one or more days One-time Report Get a detailed PDF report of all your content on the web and in mobile apps Newsletter Signup for Creators Code blog posts and updates at http://SridharMachani. com/newsletter Creators Code, the book It would be great to elaborate on these topics with lots of examples, comparisons, and HOW-TO procedures. That is precisely my objective in this upcoming book. If you would like your product to be discussed or if you have a suggestion, please drop me an email at sridhar.machani@gmail.com.

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