WWW: Writing for the Wired World September 25, 2002 Darlene Fichter, President Northern Lights...

download WWW: Writing for the Wired World September 25, 2002 Darlene Fichter, President Northern Lights Internet Solutions Ltd.

of 92

  • date post

    26-Dec-2015
  • Category

    Documents

  • view

    213
  • download

    0

Embed Size (px)

Transcript of WWW: Writing for the Wired World September 25, 2002 Darlene Fichter, President Northern Lights...

  • Slide 1
  • WWW: Writing for the Wired World September 25, 2002 Darlene Fichter, President Northern Lights Internet Solutions Ltd. www.lights.com
  • Slide 2
  • Outline 1. Reading & Writing 2. Research Dos and Donts Format, typography, style,... 3. Document Conversion & Standards
  • Slide 3
  • Outline 4. Writing for: Search Engines Error Messages 5. Usability Testing Quick and easy techniques 6. Strategies to encourage good writing
  • Slide 4
  • Challenges Focus on IT the technology Often key Intranet developers do not have writing experience Programmer, Information architect, Content experts, Intranet manager, Designers As a result: Writing ignored Time spent on top level pages only Time spent on menus/graphics Site vs. Page
  • Slide 5
  • The Reality Micro-content is as important as the navigation, side menus, design
  • Slide 6
  • Focus of the Presentation: Research Usability studies Watch and observe 1000s of users using the web and intranet
  • Slide 7
  • Reading & Writing Goal is to communicate Strategy Key messages Your audience There is nothing more important than the strategy phase. If you dont spend time on it, its like being on a dark road without your headlights on. Drue Miller, Webmistress Vivid Studios
  • Slide 8
  • Intranet Audience Focused on getting the job done Diverse Experience Usage patterns Nature of their work Engineers, Financial analysts, Marketers
  • Slide 9
  • Novice / Occasional Users* Intimidated by complex menus Like unambiguous structure Apples or Oranges Easy access to overviews that illustrate how information is arranged, maps, FAQs Glossary of technical terms, acronyms, abbreviations Visual layouts & graphics that trigger their memory * Adapted from Patrick Lynch Sarah Horton, Web Style Guide. Yale University Press, 1999.
  • Slide 10
  • Expert/Frequent Users* Depend on you for speed and accuracy Impatient with low-density graphics that offer only a few choices Prefer stripped down fast loading text menus Specific goals Appreciate detailed text menus, site structure outlines, comprehensive site indexes, well designed search engines Accelerators ways to bypass the fluff * Adapted from Patrick Lynch Sarah Horton, Web Style Guide. Yale University Press, 1999.
  • Slide 11
  • International Users Dont abbreviate dates 3/4/99 March 4 or April 3? Avoid idiosyncratic professional jargon or obscure technical terms on your intro pages Avoid situational metaphors
  • Slide 12
  • Users Want to Know Who? Tell them WHO is speaking what department or person created the page. What? WHAT is the page about? Have a title. When? WHEN time is important in evaluating the worth. Date every page. Especially important in long and complex documents that may be updated. Where? Ideally, WHERE are they what intranet site or sub-site?
  • Slide 13
  • Top 10 Things Employees Need to Know* 1. Contact information 2. Internal news about the company 3. Press coverage about the company 4. Press coverage about a topic 5. Company policies 6. Information about competitors 7. Maps 8. Contact information for someone outside the company 9. Latest analyst report 10. Background on unfamiliar company *Alison Head. On-the-Job Research: How Usable Are Corporate Intranets?
  • Slide 14
  • How Users Read on Screens How do people read on the screen? Top to bottom Left to right Focus first on the micro-content Scroll to the bottom Only after failing - side menu - top menu
  • Slide 15
  • Reading 25% slower on the screen
  • Slide 16
  • Research shows: DONT READ People who are looking for information don't read, they scan. If they have to read instructions or help page, most people will not. Readers understand more when reading less.
  • Slide 17
  • Scanability Create page titles, headings and subheadings Be consistent in how you design the headings Use font and/or color to offset headings
  • Slide 18
  • Headings & Subheadings Rule of Thumb Emphasis rule of thumb one at a time. Bold or size. Eyes are tuned to small differences. No need to SHOUT at users.
  • Slide 19
  • Punch Up the Power of Headlines Make every heading word meaningful Make sure the 1 st headline or title on page summarizes the content Separate sections with 2 nd level headings 3 levels on one page is about all the reader can grasp
  • Slide 20
  • Use Lists Use lists or tables Use bullets when sequence doesnt matter and use numbers when it does Lists speed up scanning but slow down reading Use lists when you have key concepts, not full sentences
  • Slide 21
  • Which is easiest to read? Research says Anatomy Biology Biotechnology Chemistry Microbiology Physics Zoology Anatomy Biology Biotechnology Chemistry Microbiology Physics Zoology Anatomy Biology Biotechnology Chemistry Microbiology Physics Zoology
  • Slide 22
  • Tables Can help organize content for easier viewing
  • Slide 23
  • Table: Example 1 Books 20 th Century Journals Van Gogh Maps Modernism Impressionism
  • Slide 24
  • Table: Example 2 Art Format 20th Century Books Modernism Journals Impressionism Maps Van Gogh
  • Slide 25
  • Table: Example 3 Art20th CenturyModernismImpressionism FormatBooks JournalsMaps
  • Slide 26
  • Tables Organize your content to be read in columns, not as rows Categorical not alphabetical Do not use table borders to delineate the content use space and background color
  • Slide 27
  • Table: Example
  • Slide 28
  • Users Also Scan for Links Make the links in your text meaningful Make visited and unvisited links contrast with the base font color
  • Slide 29
  • Example of Scanning Employee Phone Number Search 1. Search by last namelast name 2. Browse employees by office location 3. List all staff, click here
  • Slide 30
  • Hypertext: Classic Mistakes Overused everything is a link. Used for key concepts instead of lists or headings based on the belief. Often the link is referenced itself interrupting the readers thoughts. To start the tour, click here.
  • Slide 31
  • Use Links Wisely Hypertext is powerful but can also be distracting Links can help reduce clutter by moving information to separate Web pages But when concentrating on content, people often ignore embedded links
  • Slide 32
  • Create Links That Dont Need To Be Followed Use long descriptive links, captions, or headings so users can eliminate choices UIEs research shows that links with 4 to 9 words are more effectivelinks with 4 to 9 words are more effective
  • Slide 33
  • Reading Slower: Implications for Style Be succinct Pyramid style (newspaper) Scanning lists, lists and more lists Looks a lot like PowerPoint
  • Slide 34
  • Be Succinct Simplify for understanding Use fewer words, smaller words, and simpler words Place words into simple sentence structures Examples: utilize=use construct=build
  • Slide 35
  • Rule of Thumb: 50% the word count of conventional writing
  • Slide 36
  • Invert the Pyramid Newspaper style writing State your conclusion first Summarize most important items first Then get to the details
  • Slide 37
  • One Idea Per Paragraph Stanford/Poynter study showed that many web visitors will read only the first or second sentences of paragraph Use a strong lead sentence that summarizes content Aka blogs
  • Slide 38
  • Fragments or Sentences Some debate Poynter seems to imply sentences Imperative style sentences starting with a verb can be very effective
  • Slide 39
  • Harness Verbs Verbs get your visitors energized Using active verbs also helps improve your credibility Examples: Download Marketing XYZ presentation. Register for XYZ workshop.
  • Slide 40
  • Reading & Trust Users are judgmental and strongly adverse to marketese, or happy talk For your Intranet to be credible, you must be: Current Accurate Objective
  • Slide 41
  • Things to Avoid Marketese Anything that sounds like advertising is a complete turn off the best, the biggest
  • Slide 42
  • Objective Avoid superlatives and vague claims Don't boast, exaggerate or self- congratulate Avoid advertising talk such as "greatest thing since..." and "state-of-the-art..." Present facts clearly and users will decide for themselves what is useful Adapted from: http://www.eldis.org/tales/writing/write.htm
  • Slide 43
  • Objective Boring Rule of Thumb Be fresh and engaging Write as if you are talking to an individual
  • Slide 44
  • Be Concrete Use concrete words: nouns and verbs Avoid adjectives and adverbs
  • Slide 45
  • Accurate Make sure your facts are correct and timely. Are your statistics from this year, this quarter? Make sure your links work! If they dont, its sure to annoy users. Date your content.
  • Slide 46
  • Reading, Scanning & Typography Our eyes look for patterns Control the words, control the layout and the