An outline of where I have got my information from. 2 days « death by powerpoint » 16 hours of listening to the web gurus… boiled down into a 3hour session for you. Waded through 2 books. « Don’t make me think » is really useful as it makes you more aware of the user.. In communications you always have to think when you are creating a message – who is the target audience. In web you must always think of the user.
This is the run through of what I would like to cover.
Peter Drucker – we have spent the last 50 years focusing on the T = Technology. Now the next 50 years will be the information side of IT. Would shakespeare be a better writer if he had a compter? Tim Berners-Lee invented the internet – 1990 working for the CERN Centre Européen de Recherches Nucléaires… We’ve come to the stage where there is so much information, with web 2.0 that it is critical to use the search function to find the information.. And so words are back in fashion and Flash intros are not. An example of Web 3.0 You've decided to go see a movie and grab a bite to eat afterward. You're in the mood for a comedy and some incredibly spicy Mexican food . Booting up your PC, you open a Web browser and head to Google to search for theater, movie and restaurant information. You need to know which movies are playing in the theaters near you, so you spend some time reading short descriptions of each film before making your choice. Cinema – mappy – restaurant…. Also, you want to see which Mexican restaurants are close to each of these theaters. And, you may want to check for customer reviews for the restaurants. In total, you visit half a dozen Web sites before you're ready to head out the door. Some Internet experts believe the next generation of the Web -- Web 3.0 -- will make tasks like your search for movies and food faster and easier. Instead of multiple searches, you might type a complex sentence or two in your Web 3.0 browser, and the Web will do the rest. In our example, you could type &quot; I want to see a funny movie and then eat at a good Mexican restaurant. What are my options?&quot; The Web 3.0 browser will analyze your response, search the Internet for all possible answers, and then organize the results for you. That's not all . Many of these experts believe that the Web 3.0 browser will act like a personal assistant . As you search the Web, the browser learns what you are interested in. The more you use the Web, the more your browser learns about you and the less specific you'll need to be with your questions. Eventually you might be able to ask your browser open questions like &quot; where should I go for lunch?&quot; Your browser would consult its records of what you like and dislike, take into account your current location and then suggest a list of restaurants.
Show newspaper and test participant’s understanding about the headline without seeeing the picture. In web this is what you have to work with as images take time to download. Searching with their own words is important and will gain importance as we have seen with Web 3.0 which is just around the corner. We will look at the need for carewords later on. Very surprising but USA statistics prove that the average literacy level on the web is 8th Grade = 13/14 year olds. NB: internal literacy level? To be evaluated. Even so employees generally only go on the intranet when searching for some information / have to do a task.
Directed .. It is as though you are on an escalator in a train station, you are going to catch a train, a TGV and you only have 3 minutes to find the platform, which is your wagon and your seat….. THINK TGV DIRECTIONS Impressionable … - lazy, click here, find something interesting, Project managers over lunch……. The dolphin club….
The F pattern's implications for Web design are clear and show the importance of writing differently as user read differently. Users won't read your text thoroughly in a word-by-word manner. Exhaustive reading is rare, especially when prospective customers are conducting their initial research to compile a shortlist of vendors. Yes, some people will read more, but most won't. 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. Start subheads, 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-behavior. They'll read the third word on a line much less often than the first two words.
Card sorting: useful method for creating the content structure of a websie. Collect the relevant topics Focus and prioritize these topics Sort into logically coherent piles Categorize – so that you can give these piles a navigation bar After the exercise guess who the site belongs to: When building a web site : define the core goals and content of your website: Who are my users? What to they want to do with my site? Golden rules: Keep your website structure simple Ensure consistency Apply standards Avoid visual clutter Avoid blah blah blah text Provide clear system feedback – show clearly what is happening and what the user should do next Keep your content up-to-date
Card sorting – very useful tool to get feedback from users. To redesign our intranet at BioScience – I organized three card sorting sessions… get different layouts, different sections…… 3 basic steps to creating a web site: DIA - you cant add usability at the end like icing sugar on a cake…. Design – card sorting Implement – abstract design definitions are made into concrete realization. Analyse – test with users to make sure the development process stays on track to serve the users needs and interests.
Take the coca cola corporate site? Journalists Investors Consumer
What sort of items will this person be looking for on the site? Press release Dates for press conference Innovation stories New products High resolution images
What sort of information is David Stokes going to look for? Third quarter results. Price of shares in coca cola company Investor webcasts etc.
Ask what sort of things is Sharon going to look for on the website? Nutrional information Difference between Zero Coke and Coca light? Maslow, who spent his life researching and compiling the human hierarchy of needs. Here’s a breakdown of the needs and desires people try to fulfill, as compiled neatly in the New York Times bestseller Made to Stick: Transcendence: help others realize their potential Self-actualization: realize your own potential, self-fulfillment, peak experiences Aesthetic: symmetry, order, beauty, balance Learning: know, understand, mentally connect Esteem: achieve, be competent, gain approval, independence, status Belonging: love, family, friends, affection Security: protection, safety, stability Physical: hunger, thirst, bodily comfort To engage your visitors and turn them into customers, your web content must tap into these basic human needs and appeal to people’s emotions. Benefits can do that.
When we currently search on the web we search for the content we need to complete our task. You scan webpages as a hunter would scan the horizon and if you don’t see those carewords you get impatient.
Nothing worse than blah blah text, welcoming people….. Telling them about how you are so delighted to announce the launch of….. Web content is brutal and to the point… lead with the ned… Dont get to the point… Start with the point….; Links and headings are very similar in their function… they act as signposts as PROMISES.. Do not mislead or over promise…. Common mistakes in link writing is that the link does not deliver on the promise. The links says « buy stamps here » or « download now » and four clicks later you are still not able to download…. No more than 8 words. Avoid putting links in sentences for lisibility sake. Avoid PR, advertising and marketing gibberish…. Dont be smart, clever obscure vague.. Be clear compelling concise and always focus on what your customers really care about….. Quite often it is not what you care about….
Is it clear? If your content is not clear, you will lose a huge percentage of people almost immediately. To make things simple is not to make them simplistic. In a complex world, you must communicate complex information in a simple and clear manner. Albert Einstein talked about the real challenge being to make things as simple as possible and no simpler. You are the worst enemy of clarity on your website because you know your subject matter so well. That’s why you must always stand with your audience. Clarity requires empathy and an unrelenting focus on the needs and the level of understanding of those you are writing for.
Making links: Research shows that users only read the first two words.. Make those first two words count in a heading: Use plain language Specific and clear Common words Essence of the message Action-orientated Worst links Bland generic words – made-up words or terms…..
Is it concise? Your website is not a murder mystery, so tell them who did it in the heading and the very first paragraph. Nobody is going to wait until the last paragraph to discover the essence of what you’re trying to communicate. Lead with the need. Get to the point. Then stop. The most natural tendency in the world is to overwrite. You wonder whether someone has really got the point, so you want to hammer it home. There's nothing wrong with a bit of repetition, but there’s a thin line between it and filler — be careful not to cross it. When it comes to clarity, if in doubt, spell it out. When it comes to conciseness, if in doubt, cut it out .
Internal Com Intranet Writing For The Web S Barratt
How to write for the web <ul><li>Suzanne Barratt </li></ul><ul><li>Communication Manager, </li></ul><ul><li>Bayer CropScience </li></ul><ul><li>English / American nationality </li></ul><ul><li>20 years in France (Lyon-Paris), Los Angeles, London </li></ul><ul><li>Bayer – Aventis – Rhône-Poulenc – International lawyers – BBC Radio & TV press center </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] +33 6 80 67 32 92 </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.netvibes.com/barratt </li></ul>
What are your objectives for this seminar? <ul><li>Find something out about the person next to you that you didn’t know. </li></ul><ul><li>What is your favorite website + Why? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you still read print? </li></ul>
Credits – a few web Gurus Ideas on how to write for the web. The following advice applies to intranet as well as any external web site.
Chapters to cover: <ul><li>Context – Why is text is so important? </li></ul><ul><li>Why is the web different from Print? </li></ul><ul><li>Scanning techniques </li></ul><ul><li>Card sorting </li></ul><ul><li>Personas </li></ul><ul><li>Carewords – are we illustrating them when we write? </li></ul><ul><li>Syle guidance </li></ul><ul><li>Practice makes perfect. </li></ul>
Context – Why is text so important… Web 3.0 Search function rules
Why is the web so different from Print? <ul><li>Surfers are not reading for pleasure </li></ul><ul><li>Completing an action or task </li></ul><ul><li>Searching with their own words </li></ul><ul><li>Low literacy level </li></ul>The Web Printed documents
Web Scanning techniques <ul><li>Directed - Need to know – signposts are essential </li></ul><ul><li>Impressionable – overview, looking for an impression of a company, service, page.. </li></ul>
How do users actually scan? <ul><li>The F Pattern </li></ul>Red: areas looked the most / yellow: areas with fewer views, Blue: the least-viewed areas. Grey: areas that attract any fixations. Eye tracking video – low literacy – YouTube
Information architecture - card sorting technique <ul><li>2 groups – organize the information architecture of this website. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rules: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You can rename </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You can add sections </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You can delete sections. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What are they selling? What is the name of the site? </li></ul>
Personas <ul><li>Who are your target audiences for this web site? </li></ul>
Journalist: Scott Orson Age: 31 Profession: journalist for drinks & beverages professional magazine Organization: freelance History: media studies Tasks?...
Investor: David Stokes Age: 44 Profession: Investor relations executive Organization: Stock market, london History: Worked for Barclays – stocks and shares previously Tasks?...
Consumer: Sharon Banks Age: 29 Profession: Mother of two young children Location: Ohio, USA History: Worked previously as a shop assistant, now married and is a housewife Tasks?...
Carewords – the keys to action for internet <ul><li>Make sections/sites self service </li></ul><ul><li>Convenience + Speed </li></ul><ul><li>People share common carewords </li></ul><ul><li>What are your “carewords” for Coca Cola? Name 3 </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Make sure your “carewords” words are reflected where ever possible within an intranet section/website </li></ul></ul></ul>
Style guidance - The 6 “C”s <ul><li>Who c ares? </li></ul><ul><li>Is it c ompelling? </li></ul><ul><li>Is it c lear? </li></ul><ul><li>Is it c omplete? </li></ul><ul><li>Is it c oncise? </li></ul><ul><li>Is it c orrect? </li></ul><ul><li>Does the person know </li></ul><ul><li>where to go next or have you </li></ul><ul><li>left him at a dead end? </li></ul>
… Is it compelling? <ul><li>Headlines must be punchy and resume the story – example </li></ul><ul><li>First words are vital to keep interest </li></ul><ul><li>Summary of the page must be at the top to facilitate scanning. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t write for you, write for your Personnas </li></ul><ul><li>Inverted pyramid. Write the article/page. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Then sumarise the main points at the top in a summary. Cut the bottom part out. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Use carewords, use the word “You”, “we” </li></ul><ul><li>Highlight benefits </li></ul>How to make it compelling?
… is it clear? <ul><li>No capitals – slows down reading </li></ul><ul><li>No teasers, no metaphors </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t be cute or differentiate </li></ul><ul><li>Must be concise and factual </li></ul><ul><li>No walls of text </li></ul><ul><li>Plain simple English </li></ul><ul><li>One idea per paragraph </li></ul><ul><li>Get a “buddy” reader to give you feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Create bullet points – easy to scan </li></ul><ul><li>Less is better </li></ul>How to make it clear
… is it complete? <ul><li>Be helpful - No dead ends for surfers </li></ul><ul><li>Related links </li></ul><ul><li>Action buttons </li></ul><ul><li>Glossary, footnotes should be in the text to explain the terms </li></ul><ul><li>Contact </li></ul><ul><li>Down load documents – Use proper icons to indicate format! </li></ul>How to make it complete In short : Anything useful to your surfer makes a page complete. Where do I go next?
… is it concise? <ul><li>No walls of text </li></ul><ul><li>Pdfs to download, print and read only.. They cannot be read on screen. </li></ul><ul><li>Make obvious descriptive links - No “click here” / download here” </li></ul><ul><li>Write a 2 line summary that explains your pdf </li></ul><ul><li>Make small chunks of text </li></ul><ul><li>Any photos that could replace lengthy text? </li></ul>How to make it concise
… is it correct? <ul><li>Have you checked your facts? </li></ul><ul><li>Is it up-to-date? </li></ul><ul><li>Have you had the text re-read by your buddy reader? </li></ul><ul><li>Less content is easier to keep up-to-date </li></ul><ul><li>Create a network in your team so everyone has the reflex to keep the section up-to-date. </li></ul><ul><li>Read your text backwards – easier to find spelling + grammar mistakes. </li></ul>How to make it correct
Now it is your turn to practice what I’ve preached…
Some useful websites - newsletters <ul><li>www.useit.com – Jakob Nielsen </li></ul><ul><li>www.gerrymcgovern.com – Gerry McGovern </li></ul><ul><li>www.steptwo.com.au – usability / web strategy </li></ul>