STRATEGY High-level and Tactical Goals & Objectives Audience Demographics Additions to Existing Content CONTENT MODELS What YOU want them to know and do. RESEARCH Review Existing Relevant Data Key Audience and Stakeholder Interviews Focus Groups Competitive Analysis Existing Content Inventory Legacy site metrics ALIGN CONTENT & TASKS Identify Content gaps Identify Functional Gaps & Imperatives Eliminate Unnecessary Content Prioritize USER PROFILES “Personas” Wants & Needs Scenarios Priorities Tastes TASK MODELS What THEY want to know and do. INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE Schematics Interaction Workflows Prototypes VALIDATE Internal Consensus Usability Testing BUILD Best Practices – Content Model Gap Analysis
Best Practices– Personas NICOLE 5’6 | 111 pounds | 17 yrs old She has a best friend that she spends all her time with. She has a little dog named Bentley She’s close with her parents, and they will do anything for her. She does well in all of her classes but enjoys social science classes the most. She thinks she might want to be teacher but not really sure. *Nicole’s best friend doesn’t know she wears Crocs when she is not around.
Who is Mark Evans? Former reporter – Globe & Mail, National Post, Bloomberg News, South China Morning Post Digital communications, marketing and social media consultant – ME Consulting Entrepreneur – Blanketware, b5media, PlanetEye Blogger – markevanstech.com, twitterrati.com, allaboutnortel.com mesh conference co-founder (meshconference.com)
Editorial a Focus/Mandate Who’s the audience – students, faculty, supporters, suppliers, partners What kind of information does the audience want/need? What are they going to do with this information? Are they going to use it to do more research? Are they going to use it to make decisions?
How Readers Use Web Sites They don't “Users are selfish, lazy, and ruthless." - Jakob Nielsen
The Reality Is…. People rarely read Web pages word by word. Instead, they scan the page, picking out individual words and sentences. Resource: “Lazy Eyes – How We Read Online” Slate.com -
Information Must be Easy to Find 1.Navigation must be intuitive and accessible 2.Headlines must resonate 3.One to two-page articles/stories using the inverted pyramid structure 4.One idea/paragraph 5.Concise writing 6.Active voice vs. passive voice
Use simple language, avoid idiomatic expressions (easily translatable, easily retainable) Use headers and sub-headers correctly to group related items of content Use tables for tabular data only Lists and/or groups of six or less related items assists/improves retention of content Restating the subject at the beginning of a phrase assists/improves retention and comprehension Web Accessibility
How to Establish Credibility Writing needs to be high-quality Use graphics/rich media (e.g. video) for emphasis – but not all the time Use outbound links when necessary, and ensure they stay live (every link has to be maintained)
Why About Us Deserves More Love Often an after-thought, the “About Us” page is an integral resource because it gives readers important information about the institution, faculty, department, etc such as what it does, key executive/leaders, its location and contact information (telephone numbers, addresses, physical address)
Updating Your Site/Web Pages Some content needs to be updated on a regular basis while some content (parking information, security, feedback form, About Us) can stay the same for a long time.
Why is Good Navigation Important? Make it quick, easy and intuitive for people to find information If your readers can’t understand how to get around your site, chances are they won't. “Organize Content Based on Audience Needs”
Design – The Basics Page Length - 75% of people won’t read below the fold Image Size - CMS will handle this automatically Image Links - Images need to have links and tags Image Quality - Images needs to be fairly high-quality
Quantity vs. Quality “When you're writing for the Internet, pretend you're giving your readers a Twinkie -- keep your offering short and sweet, and symmetric.”
Twinkies are Simple…and Fun to Eat
What is Quality? Tone Concise/Keep it Snappy Active Voice Jargon-Free Pyramid Structure Great Headlines
What is Tone? "Tone in writing refers to the writer's attitude toward the reader and the subject of the message. The overall tone of a written message affects the reader just as one's tone of voice affects the listener in everyday exchanges"
Write like you talk. Be casual. Be direct. Be captivating. Tone…….
Writing in personal/informal manner Casual toneFormal tone Can use colloquial words or expressions (kids, guys, awesome, etc.) Avoid the usage of these words or expression (use children, man/boy, wonderful, etc) Can use contractions (can’t, won’t, it’d, etc)Avoid these words- write out fully (cannot, would not, it would, etc) Can use 1st, 2nd, or 3rd personUsed 3rd person (except business letter which use 1st person) Can use clichés (without moving a muscle, quiet as a mouse, etc) Avoid clichés (unmoving, silent, etc.) Addresses readers using 2nd person (you, your, etc.) Avoid addressing readers using 2nd person (use one, one’s the individual, etc.) Can use abbreviated words (photo, TV, CD, etc.)Never abbreviate- write out fully (photograph, television, compact disc, etc.) Can use imperative voice/commanding voice (remember; turn to this page 96, etc.) Avoid using commanding words (please refer to, on page 96, etc.) Can use active voice (we caught 3 fish, etc.)Use passive voice (3 fish were caught, etc.) Short and simple sentencesLong and more complex sentences. Can put emotion in.No emotion is shown.
Keeping it Concise and Snappy (aka “The 50% Rule”) "I never write metropolis for seven cents, because I can get the same price for city". - Mark Twain, who was paid seven cents/word as a journalist
Get to the point. If you don’t capture someone’s attention right away, they’ll leave The shorter the better. Keep sentences less than 25 words when possible Keep paragraphs short too. Nothing longer than four (use push down links if its longer) Why Be Concise?
Words to Avoid and Use AvoidUse additionalextra, more advisetell assistancehelp at this moment in timenow commencestart consequentlySo forwardsend in respect offor obtainget residencehouse
Keeping Sentences Short Take 10 minutes to do the following exercise:
Using an Active Voice Writing in the active voice rather than the passive voice gives your writing more life and more clarity. An active voice gives you more credibility because you’re talking to the reader rather than at the reader.
Passive vs. Active Voice The drawing is being reviewed by Bill. Bill is reviewing the drawing. To do this, a mandrel is inserted into the bore. To do this, insert a mandrel into the bore. The building was struck by lightning. Lightning struck the building. The switchgear was installed by a contractor. A contractor installed the switchgear. The bid was won by a company that used bidding software. A company that used bidding software won the
The Evils of Jargon
Jargon: A Definition 1.Confused unintelligible language 2.A strange, outlandish, or barbarous language or dialect 3.A hybrid language or dialect simplified in vocabulary and grammar and used for communication between peoples of different speech 4.The technical terminology or characteristic idiom of a special activity or group 5.Obscure and often pretentious language marked by circumlocutions and long words
Jargon: Don’t Use/Use Don’t useuse along the lines oflike as toabout at an early datesoon be in a position tocan during such times thatwhile first of allfirst in relation toabout, for, with in spite of the fact thatdespite in the amount offor until such time asuntil
Keeping Paragraphs Short Paragraphs should have no more than four sentences in them Provide readers with bite-sized chunks of text as opposed to a wall of it.
Paragraph Exercise Take 10 minutes to complete this exercise:
Headlines/Titles that Resonate “At its essence, a compelling headline must promise some kind of benefit or reward for the reader, in trade for the valuable time it takes to read more.” - Bryan Clark, copyblogger.com On average, 8 out of 10 people will read a headline but only two out of 10 people will read the rest of the story.
This Isn’t It… Headline Creator Pro “Create Profit-Pulling Headlines with Just One Mouse Click”
Tips to Write Great Headlines Use Active Voice: "Man Bites Dog" is better than "Dog Is Bitten By Man.” Write headlines in the present tense Use short, punchy words Avoid exclamation points and other punctuation Use important numbers only (E.g. 1 million vs. 10) Use "How", "Why" and numbers Use keywords at the beginning of your headlines
Bad Headlines Governor Swears in Legislature March Planned For Next August Blind Bishop Appointed To See Lingerie Shipment Hijacked--Thief Gives Police The Slip L.A. Voters Approve Urban Renewal By Landslide Patient At Death's Door--Doctors Pull Him Through Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Experts Say Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers
Headline Exercise The near-hit of space junk Thursday was a warning fired shot across the bow of the international space station, experts said. There's likely more to come in the future. With less than an hour's notice, the three astronauts were told they'd have to seek shelter in a Russian capsule parked at the space station in case a speeding piece of space junk hit Thursday. If it hit and they were in the main part of the station, they'd have only 10 minutes of safety, Mission Control told them. A hole in the space station could mean loss of air, loss of pressure and eventual loss of life.
Why Use the Inverted Pyramid Put the most important information first so if people only read a small amount of content, they’ll get the key points
How to Provide More Info Links provide: 1.Pull down links maximize above the fold content 2.Additional resources for readers to get more information from different sources 3.Credibility by demonstrating insight and knowledge of other relevant resources
Lists People love reading lists because they are: -Accessible -Quick and easy to read -Organized Thoughts -An excellent place to embed links within your site
How to Create a List Five to 10 items (please, no more) Each item should only have one to two sentences Use lists sparingly
Grammar and Spelling Count
Grammar/Spelling Tips Use a spellchecker Pay attention to punctuation Think about capitalization
Social media involves the use of online and mobile technology and tools that let people share content, personal opinions, different perspectives and insights about everything and anything. Social Media
Blogs…Still Alive and Well
Facebook – 150M and Counting…
Using RSS What is RSS? RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. RSS is a content delivery vehicle used when you want to syndicate news and other Web content. When it distributes the content, it is called a feed. You could think of RSS as a personal wire service. RSS lets people see your site without going out of their way to visit.
News and announcements - headlines, notices and announcements added to over time Document listings - lists of added or changed pages, so that people don’t need to constantly check for different content Bookmarks and other internal links Calendars - listings of past or upcoming events, deadlines or holidays Search results - let people track changing or new results to their searches Databases - job listings, etc. Why Use RSS?
Feedback/Suggestions Provide a feedback and/or suggestion link where readers can provide ideas, thoughts, complaints, etc. Make it easy for people to leave feedback – an online form is more effective than making people use e- mail.
Frequently Asked Questions (aka FAQ) Put yourself in your audience's shoes figure out what questions might be asked, and provide the answers that you would like to hear/read Ask the different departments (e.g. Registrar, Graduate Studies, Continuing Education) the questions people ask most often Be concise, avoid jargon, keep it simple and easy to understand Structure FAQ by different categories
Contact Us Make it easy for people to contact you Provide information such as a location address, phone number, address and a map.
Resources Elements Of Style by William ShrunkElements Of Style Word (www.word.com)www.word.com Edit-Work.com: How To Establish Editorial Consistency and Correctness Throughout A Web Site Estimating Editorial Tasks: A Five-Step Method Associated Press Style Guide om/FLSstyle/flsstyle.htm om/FLSstyle/flsstyle.htm RefDesk Grammar, Usage, and Style Resources Rensselaer: Revising Prose RSS Tutorial
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