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Archive for the ‘Best Practices’ Category

Why You Need a Content Strategist

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Do you need a content strategist to help strengthen your website? Here’s an article to help you better understand what content strategists do and why their work is so invaluable.

Why You Need a Content Strategist


Written by uclaportal

April 14, 2010 at 3:13 pm

Horizontal Attention Leans Left

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Another insightful Jakob Neilsen article about how users tend to spend more time viewing the left half of a web page, in contrast to the right half.

Horizontal Attention Leans Left

Written by uclaportal

April 6, 2010 at 7:38 pm

In Defense of the CMS

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Here’s a great article I found on Erin Kissane’s website incisive.nu. With much debate about the use of Content Management Systems, this article uncovers new perspectives that can help you better understand the role of a CMS and how you should be using it.

Click here for the article.

Written by uclaportal

March 19, 2010 at 7:11 pm

Why Your Users May Overlook Your Site’s Important Features

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Jakob Neilsen, known by many as “The Guru of Web Page Usability,” shares his knowledge of Graphical User Interface (GUI) design strategies for today’s web developers. He addresses the importance of keeping actionable elements close to one another, as not to confuse or mislead the user.

An excerpt:

When buttons, drop-downs, checkboxes, or other actionable GUI elements are too far away from the objects they act on, people don’t see them. Often, users don’t realize what they’re missing and simply assume the features aren’t available.

Here’s the full article. And be sure to bookmark Neilsen’s web site for insightful articles about usability.

Written by uclaportal

March 9, 2010 at 5:17 pm

Seeing Content as Conversation

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Content Strategist Ginny Redish shares her views about web content as conversation with Lou Rosenfeld of Rosenfeld Media, a publisher of literature and webinars on user experience design.

Citing from her webinar, Redish explains how online content should be viewed as a conversation started by the site visitor. She discusses the importance of headings and keeping the conversation from being one-sided. Below are some highlights from the interview.

Read the entire interview here.  

Four helpful guidelines from Redish’s webinar “Content as Conversation”:

  1. Don’t hog the conversation. If you write dense paragraphs of text and web content that goes on and on without breaks, you are hogging the conversation. You are saying “listen to me, listen to me, don’t interrupt me.” Many readers will give up. When I do usability testing, dense paragraphs often cause my participants to start saying, “yeah, yeah, blah, blah, blah,” and then stop reading.
  2. Take turns. Successful conversations allow each person to take a turn. In web content, headings are the site visitor’s turns in the conversation. That’s why good web pages break the information with well-written headings. And that’s why questions make wonderful headings for many types of web content.
  3. Market when the site visitor is ready for it. On paper, you start the conversation; so you can put your marketing messages right in front of people. On web sites, site visitors come very focused on their needs, their conversation. You have to satisfy that conversation before your site visitors are ready to hear marketing messages that are not directly related to their need.
  4. Respect your site visitors’ time. On the web, there’s always another web site, somewhere else to go, something else to do. Writing with simple, common words in short, straightforward sentences or bulleted lists or even fragments helps all of us grasp the information. We all read simple, short, common words quickly and easily; and high-literacy readers are often the busiest and least patient of your site visitors. Writing plain English is a way to respect your busy site visitors’ time.

Written by uclaportal

February 16, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Wise Words: How to Influence Readers with Kairos

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Check out this article by Colleen Jones on A List Apart. It highlights strategies for selecting the right words to connect with your readers.

Words that Zing by Colleen Jones


When someone consults a website, there is a precious opportunity not only to provide useful information but also to influence their decision. To make the most of this opportune moment, we must ensure that the site says or does precisely the right thing at precisely the right time. Understanding the rhetorical concept of kairos can help us craft a context for the opportune moment and hit the mark with appropriately zingy text.

Written by uclaportal

February 10, 2010 at 6:03 pm

Strategizing Web Content

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Here’s a valuable blog post from Shay Howe, a professional web and user experience designer. He details the recommended strategies for creating web content that’s relavent, up-to-date and easy for readers to grasp quickly.

Strategizing Web Content

Written by uclaportal

January 26, 2010 at 7:08 pm

Posted in Best Practices