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Content as Conversation

Slides from a short talk at The Big Redux, local IxDA conference, Maryland, April 2011. Based on my book on writing for the web, Letting Go of the Words -- Writing Web Content that Works

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Content as Conversation

  1. 1. Content as Conversation Janice (Ginny) Redish, Ph.D. Redish & Associates, Inc. Bethesda, Maryland 301 − 229 − 3039 [email_address] Silver Spring, MD April 30, 2011
  2. 2. Tell your latest web story <ul><ul><li>When? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Why? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What were you trying to do or what were you looking for? </li></ul></ul>To satisfy their goals Content Information To do a task <ul><li>People just want to </li></ul><ul><li>answer their question </li></ul><ul><li>do a task </li></ul><ul><li>solve a problem </li></ul>Flickr cc photo by russelljsmith
  3. 3. Navigation and search are critical
  4. 4. Good, clear design is critical
  5. 5. Technology that works is critical
  6. 6. But they all support the content
  7. 7. Content = conversation
  8. 8. <ul><li>On most sites, the site visitor starts the conversation. </li></ul>How well does your web site converse? Theme = content as conversation Flickr cc photo by Bradleyolin Lost. No problem. Use the computer!
  9. 9. A few guidelines for good conversations <ul><li>Imagine the conversation as you design. </li></ul><ul><li>Don't hog the conversation. Take turns. </li></ul><ul><li>Set the context first. </li></ul><ul><li>Answer your site visitors' questions. </li></ul><ul><li>Talk to your site visitors. </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluate your site through personas and their conversations. </li></ul>Flickr cc photo by Polandeze
  10. 10. Imagine the conversation as you design Which link should we click on? Flickr cc photo by Mr.Thomas
  11. 11.
  12. 12. Old CDC page; CDC has revised this and most other health information, following the content as conversation model.
  13. 13. Don't hog the conversation. Take turns Headings are the site visitor's turns in the conversation.
  14. 14. <ul><li>How would you say this information in a conversation? </li></ul>Approved fumigation with methyl bromide at normal atmospheric pressure, in accordance with the following procedure, upon arrival at the port of entry, is hereby prescribed as a condition of importation for shipments of yams from foreign countries.
  15. 15. Did you say something like this? If you are importing yams, [someone] must fumigate them when they arrive at the port of entry. To fumigate yams, [someone] must use this procedure: Clark and Haviland, Comprehension and the given-new contract, In R. Freedle (Ed.), Discourse production and comprehension , 1975, Erlbaum, 1-40. Set the context first new context = given, known then
  16. 16. Answer your site visitors' questions Flickr photo by pedrosimeos7 Oh! I think I like that bag, but I wonder…
  17. 18. Talk to your site visitors
  18. 21. Evaluate through your personas and their conversations <ul><li>Do usability testing! </li></ul><ul><li>Even before that: </li></ul><ul><li>Walk your personas through their conversations. </li></ul><ul><li>See the site through their eyes with their words. </li></ul>
  19. 22. Think &quot;conversation.&quot; Write conversations. Facilitate conversations. Evaluate through conversations. ✔ ✗
  20. 23. Morgan Kaufmann / Elsevier, 2007 Ginny Redish [email_address] 301 229 3039 Thank you