Web Content That Works

In Redish’s article ‘Letting Go of the Words – Writing Web Content That Works’, she says that successful writers focus on their audiences. In order to do this, there are seven steps to follow.

1- List your major audiences

  • Major audiences for my website will be professionals who are looking to hire and possibly higher education counselors if I choose to apply for graduate school.

2- Gather information about your audience

Website Outline

Scope

I really like things to be extremely organized and easy to navigate, so I want my website to be simple. I will definitely post my resume and link to this WordPress blog. Since writing is a strong suite of mine, I plan to create a portfolio of writing samples. If I have permissions from my past employers, I would ideally display memos and press releases I have written for them. On a personal note, I would like to post pictures from my study abroad trip as well as important memories/landmarks in my life.

Strategy

Using wix.com, I plan to create a website that will benefit me in the future by creating a professional profile that I can share with potential employers. Not only should this website demonstrate my experience by sharing my resume, but I hope to portray the skills learned in this class by creating a well-planned website. I also want to have an “about me” where I can share important aspects of my life that make me, me! I would like to share my study abroad experience, my family, my friends, and other experiences that have helped me grow into the person I am now.

User Experience Matters!

An Introduction to User Experience

Can you remember a time where you tried to use some type of technology and found yourself becoming very frustrated? I can recall this experience occurring just a few days ago when attempting to use Adobe Elements. We have all felt this feeling at some point in our life. Garrett describes it well when he explains that “We have a double-edged relationship with the products and services we use. They empower us and frustrate us; they simplify and complicate our lives; they separate us and bring us closer” (pg. 3).

While this was not emphasized in the article, and may be a little irrelevant, my first thought was “WOW! We are SO reliant on technology!” If you walk through your average day, technology plays a crucial part in every single step. You use some sort of phone or alarm clock to wake up, you dry your hair with a hair drier then style it with a curling iron, you drive your car to work and listen to the radio, you take the elevator up to your office, you turn on your MacBook to open your email and begin your day… the list goes on. We use technology and electronics for almost everything in our life! This just creates an even larger importance for positive user experience.

So, what is user experience? Most people think it includes product design – aesthetics and functionality. While these are important, “the process of creating a product is about development” (pg. 7). The idea of context is also crucial – everything needs to be created relative to their users.

This article relates primarily to user experience in regards to Web sites, because user experience is more important in this area than any other. When people get frustrated, THEY BLAME THEMSELVES, and they will be driven away from your website/product. Therefore, do not race to complete your website first. Take your time and do it right! More features does not always mean better.

There are a few important terms…

  • Return on investment: for every dollar you spend, how much are you getting back?
  • Conversion rate: what percentage of users move to the “next level”? It measures the effectiveness of user experience. It is even more important for commerce sites. How many people who visit your site actually purchase something?

Any user experience aims to improve efficiency. There are two ways to do this…

  1. Help people work faster
  2. Help people make fewer mistakes

Make sure your site has a user-centered design: take the user into account in every step of the designing process and ensure “everything the user experiences should be the result of a conscious decision on your part” (pg. 17).

 

The Five Elements of User Experience

5 planes

This visual is a great representation of the five planes. The rule with the 5 planes: as you build from the bottom to the top, the planes becomes less abstract and more concrete. While the first must be complete to move to the second, “dependencies run in both directions”, sometimes causing a re-evaluation of a lower level (pg. 24). The five planes are briefly described below…

  1. The Surface: images and text, things you can click on (most concrete). Includes sensory experience.
  2. The Skeleton: the placement of the buttons, controls, photos, blocks of text. Includes information design, interface design and navigation design.
  3. The Structure: how users got to that page and where to go when they are finished there. Includes interaction design and information architecture.
  4. The Scope: the way the various features and functions of the site fit together. Includes functional specifications and content requirements.
  5. The Strategy: what the people running the site want to get out of it and what the users want to get out of the site as well (most abstract). Includes user needs and product objectives.

Along with the two planes, it is crucial to look at two elements of each individual plane:

  1. Functionality: tasks – the steps involved in a process and how people think about completing them.
  2. Information Medium – information the product offers and what it means to our users.

Overall, when creating any type of website, focus on CONTENT and TECHNOLOGY – the two most important elements.

Thoughts to ponder: When thinking of a very successful piece of technology, we often think about the Apple iPhone. Apply the five planes to the iPhone and ask yourself why they have been so successful with user experience.

iphone 5

Video Storyboard

The plan for my video is “a day in the life of a Furman student” to portray my ideas of Furman’s stress and how to relieve this stress. In order to do this, I am going to need one person to be my “main character” for the entire video. I love the idea of doing something similar to the show ‘House of Cards’, where the main character essentially narrates the story.

I want to start by having about 30 people hold up signs of the amount of hours they slept the night before, in order to portray the lack of sleep/stress at Furman. It will change to beat of a song.

1

I plan on stopping at the last person and zooming in on their face, then having them be the “main character.” We will walk through their day.

2

3

4

5

One of the shots will include my main character going to class. After class, I plan to interview the professor on their opinion of Furman student’s stress.

In the end, I want to portray the great parts about Furman and make the point that when you figure out how to relieve stress, you will be happy!