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Making Your Content Count

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    Slide 1:Making Your Content Count

    An Invitation to Your Audience Nancy DuVergne Smith MIT Alumni Association Editorial Director

    Slide 2:How Do Readers See?

    F-shaped eye scans

    Slide 3:What Do Readers See?

    Eyes seek text first Headlines Summaries Navigation Captions Images are secondary Medium to large photos hold attention. Small photos and thumbnails do not.

    Slide 4:EyeTrack07 Key Findings

    People read more online than in print 77% online; 62% broadsheet; 57% tabloids Alternative story formsQ/As, bulleted lists attract more attention that paragraphs Photos of real people doing real things get more attention that staged photos Source:

    Slide 5:How Do We Know?

    Research tracks users Poynter Institute-Stanford University Eye-tracking study Credibility guidelines Web usability guru Jacob Nielsen User experience Web Style Guide, Yale Center for Advanced Instructional Media

    Slide 6:Why Is Web Viewing Behavior Different from Print?

    Limits of screen loads Poor screen resolution Lost scent of information 25% slower reading online

    Slide 7:Why Should We Care?

    Web = professional front door Global reach 24/7 availability Accurate and timely information Matches audience needs Provides a web of information

    Slide 8:Why Use Writing Guidelines?

    "The main ideas keep popping out at you. Boom. It's very easy to follow." Nielsen found that concise writing, objective language, and scannable text improved usability by 159% in satisfaction, task time, task errors, and memory. Source:

    Slide 9:Online Writing Style

    Web Style Guide recommendations Concise, not verbose Factual, not vague Cultivate a voice Think globally Example: Source:

    Slide 10:Using Microcontent Strategically

    Readers look at headlines first. Begin each page with a headline Use subheads every three to four paragraphs. Links should identify actual content. Avoid generic click here. Instead use actions or key words, such as Sign up for online services or headlines. Write captions for photos. Readers do see captions, sometimes before the images. Example:

    Slide 11:Headline Style

    Headline style Initial caps for key words in the headline Down style Cap first word of subheads Avoid all caps Perceived as shouting 10% slower to read Example:

    Slide 12:Sentence Style

    Start with the subject ~ SVO Use a dynamic, active verb Limit sentences to 15-25 words Limit paragraphs to two-three sentences Use concrete, familiar words Example:

    Slide 13:Attractive Web Images

    Images related to page content Real people, smiling at the reader Single face Small groups where faces are distinguishable Items a reader might want to buy Source:

    Slide 14:How Do We Bring This Home?

    Fresh site, fresh content. Focus on audience needs. Make your ideas pop by using the MITAA Web Content Style Guide.

    Slide 15:MITAA Web Content Style Guide I

    Web writing should be clear, concise, and engaging. Writing tone should be conversational. Mostly use third person (he/she) Second person (you) or direct address works for limited, informal use. Only use first person (I/we) with an acknowledged author.

    Slide 16:MITAA Web Content Style Guide II

    Headlines should top every page; long articles need subheads every three-four paragraphs. The leadan inverted pyramid paragraphshould deliver the main point of the page's contents. Sentences and paragraphs should be short and focused.

    Slide 17:MITAA Web Content Style Guide III

    Top level pages should be stickyfresh content should be added on a regular basis. Write captions for photos. Use photos to tell a story or illustrate an event. Set up photos with small groups so faces are visible; avoid lineups if possible.

    Slide 18:Transitioning Our Web Pages

    Example: Profile of Eric Mibuari 06 Microcontent checklist: Headline? Subheads? Summary/Inverted Pyramid Lead? Caption? Midsized photo with face? Conversational tone? Short sentences and paragraphs?

    Slide 19:Transforming Headlines

    Noun phrase Executive Education Gerund phrase verb+ing Educating Executives SVO subject-verb-object Executives Bring New Knowledge Back to Work

    Slide 20:Headline Writing Exercise

    Write a new headline for the ALC page: Headlines: Use an active verb Capture the gist Make sense independently Run eight words or less

    Slide 21:Inverted pyramid

    An inverted pyramid paragraph presents the main idea immediately Most news leads use the inverted pyramid style Summarize or present the conclusion Why, what, when, where, and why

    Slide 22:Which paragraph is an inverted pyramid?

    Even those enriched by U.S. tax law generally acknowledge that it's a pitiable mess. Devoid of underlying principles and with provisions variously inspired by noble purpose, opportunism, and outright bribery, it's a labyrinth that annually absorbs billions of unproductive dollars in advice, preparation, and enforcement. U.S. tax law is generally acknowledged as a pitiable mess, even by those it benefits. Tax law is devoid of underlying principles and shaped by both noble purpose and opportunism. Annually this labyrinth absorbs billons of unproductive dollars in advice, preparation, and enforcement. The solution? A universal transaction tax.

    Slide 23:How Are We Going to Get There?

    Web Redesign Content Team Support Content Inventory assignments Image galley development Content partners work with area managers Editing and feedback

    Slide 24:Content Resources

    MITAA Web Content Style Guide: server location ~ \\Addsalum\assocsrv\PUBLIC\Work Area\AA Web Redesign 2007\Content and Style\Web Style Guide Making Your Content Count: Web writers resources (Nancy): Poynter Institute: Jacob Nielsen: Web Style Guide: Stanford Credibility: Contentious: