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Put Some Muscle In Your Web Presence Bob Rost, EESC OSU Extension Service 2009 Spring Training. Extension and Experiment Station Communications. Bob Rost contact info. Telephone: 541-737-0560 email: bob.rost@oregonstate.edu.

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Put Some Muscle In Your Web Presence

Bob Rost, EESC

OSU Extension Service 2009 Spring Training

Extension and Experiment Station Communications


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Bob Rost contact info.

Telephone: 541-737-0560

email: bob.rost@oregonstate.edu

Extension and Experiment Station Communications


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A useful reference:

'Letting Go of the Words; Writing Web Content that Works'

by Janice Redish

Extension and Experiment Station Communications


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Extension and Experiment Station Communications


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Review of web user behavior

Extension and Experiment Station Communications


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Review of web user behavior

  • People come to web sites to satisfy goals, to do tasks, to get answers to questions.

  • People come to web sites for information, for the content.

  • They don’t read much, especially before they get to the page that has the information they want.

  • Even on information pages, they skim and scan before they start to read.

  • They want to read only enough to meet their needs.

    (Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web content that Works; 2007)

Extension and Experiment Station Communications


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Review of web user behavior

According to a study by Nielsen and Loranger average time on the home page was 25 to 35 seconds! People want to get on with the task that brought them to the site.

Nielsen and Loranger, 2006, Prioritizing Web Usability.

Extension and Experiment Station Communications


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Web site organization

Extension and Experiment Station Communications


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Web site organization

Multipurpose

Navigation

Destination


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Web site organization

  • A useful home page is mostly links and short descriptions.

  • A pathway page is like a table of contents for your website.

  • Short descriptions help. If links aren’t instantly obvious, a few words of description may help your site visitors find the link they need.

Extension and Experiment Station Communications


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Web site organization

  • The smoothness of the path (to the information destination) is more important than the number of clicks (within reason).

  • Don’t make people think while they’re navigating the pathway to your content; at least don’t make them think too much.

  • Another approach: Build your site up from the content—not only down from the home page.

Extension and Experiment Station Communications


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Web site organization

Multipurpose

Navigation

Destination


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Web site organization

  • A key question: How much information on one web page?

  • How much is too much?

  • How much information will users look at on one page?

  • How cohesive is the information?

  • How long is the web page?

  • How much content can we expect users to scan on one page?

Extension and Experiment Station Communications



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Web site organization

PDFs – can we overuse them?

  • A PDF document is designed for delivery on paper. It is designed for printed document orientation rather than the landscape orientation of the computer screen.

  • PDFs are usually written in narrative style rather than web style.

  • PDFs, unless well-designed graphically, can basically be the wall of words that we strive to avoid on web pages.

Extension and Experiment Station Communications


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PDF pros and cons

  • PDF is easy to produce and post on a web site

  • Easy to print

  • Easy to share by sending the PDF link to others

    On the other hand a PDF:

  • May be awkward to read on a computer screen

  • May provide more information than the user wants or needs

Extension and Experiment Station Communications


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Writing for the web

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Writing for the web

  • Web writing should be more conversational in tone

  • Web writing should answer people’s questions quickly

  • When writing for the web, try for a writing style and structure that will let your web site users grab and go

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Chunking content for the web.

A method of presenting information by splitting larger

portions of text into smaller pieces or ‘chunks’ to make

reading (and scanning) faster and easier.

Chunked content includes:

  • Bulleted lists

  • Short subheadings

  • Short sentences with one or two ideas per sentence

  • Short paragraphs that may even consist of one sentence

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Inverted pyramid writing style

A standard writing tool of journalism.

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Top of article

Bottom of article


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Traditional, narrative writing style

Top of article

Bottom of article


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Writing for the web

Guidelines for tuning up sentences:

  • Write in the active voice (most of the time)

  • Write short, simple, straightforward sentences

  • Cut unnecessary words

  • Keep paragraphs short

  • Put the action in the verbs, not the nouns

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Writing for the web

Good headings, and subheadings, help readers.

  • They attract interest

  • Provide a quick overview of content on the page

  • Give context

  • Makes scanning easy

  • Separates sections and adds space to the page

  • Makes information more readable, less dense

Extension and Experiment Station Communications


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Writing for the web

Focus on essential messages.

  • Give people only what they need

  • Cut Cut Cut and cut again

  • Start with the key point. Write in inverted pyramid style

  • Break down walls of words

  • Market by giving useful information*

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Ultimately, it is the quality of the content that

markets Extension to online audiences. Therefore,

we move forward in achieving marketing goals

when we post content that people want,update the

content frequently and make it easy to find.

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Photos and video on the web

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Photos and video on the web

  • You can attract attention with photos and video

  • You can show services/products you offer with photos and video

  • You can convey an idea or concept with photos and video

  • You can show who you are and what you do with photos and video

Extension and Experiment Station Communications


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Photos and video on the web

Using imagery on web pages can greatly enhance

communication. However, imagery can also

confuse the message and detract from

communication.

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Photos and video on the web

  • Get closer to the subject/s you photograph

  • Show faces, preferably learning and enjoying the experience

  • Shoot photos from different angles (to make images more interesting)

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Photos and video on the web

  • Show clearly, to the extent possible, the activity going on in the photo so the viewer can readily understand what is happening in the image

  • Crop for effect

  • Use a short caption if possible and if it will help

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Photos and video on the web

Take the same basic approach for video

  • Get closer

  • Show faces

  • Frame for effect

  • Try shooting from different angles

  • Show action clearly, to the extent possible

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Photos and video on the web

Additional note: EESC has a photo archive

available to all OSU Extension faculty and staff.

You may find photos there for your website.

See:

eescphotos.extension.oregonstate.edu/photoark/

Password: Ph0t0s

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Video to web demonstration

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Questions?

Contact Bob Rost, EESC

Telephone: 541-737-0560

Email: bob.rost@oregonstate.edu

Extension and Experiment Station Communications