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  • Your home page is NOT your index; it's your store front: Web Development Blog: Creative Services: Marketing and Communications: Case Western Reserve University
    applies to our Web site If we don t present simple and obvious choices it is easier for the user to hit the back button and look elsewhere than to enter our site even if we have the information or products they want View psychologist Barry Schwartz s video below to learn more about the problems humans face when confronting choices So what should we put on the front page As you are planning the page think of the storefront and keep it simple Include your name and a brief description that let s people know they re in the right place Highlight 1 6 products news items special offers or announcements not 1 6 of each Include a simple menu with less than a dozen 6 would be good choices that will take them to obviously distinct sections of your site You may also include a search box footer related sites and other simple navigational aids so long as they offer intuitive guidance rather than clutter If your site is a blog it is fine to include your primary content i e your entries on the first page as this is standard blogging practice I ll address blogs another time These numbers aren t written in stone Perhaps you really need 7 menu items rather than 6 It depends on the content But when you justify 7 it s easy to think that one more won t hurt and what about this bit then suddenly you are up to 31 and your visitor doesn t know where to look Just keep thinking of that store front While you are doing that pretend you are the visitor a person far less familiar with your content than you Look at your site plan or design draft through their eyes Does it allow you to make simple choices Or do you have to think about where to go Test your content It s sometimes hard to tell how much is too much Or your team may have marketing research that shows your target market wants to see 50 things on the front page What they think they want may not be what they can really use so test it Create 2 front pages one with the clutter and one with 6 menu choices Get some volunteers unfamiliar with your product or subject area and ask them to answer 12 questions the answers to which they will find in your site Have them time how long it takes to find the the answers For each question ask how easy or difficult it was to find the answer on a scale of 1 6 There are many ways to test usability I ll write more about that later but this one is fairly easy to implement even on a shoestring budget and it can give you some quick insight between what you think will work and what really does Homepage Design and Decision Making Resources My friend Shirley from Pownce gave me the link to the Home Page Design article which offers a number of interesting insights into the role of your homepage Other than that I thought I d focus more on the psychology of decision making that really drives our need to make sites simple To that end I ve included Mano Singham s articles on snap judgments and the Barry Schwartz video These aren t directly related to Web page design but they underscore why our design choices are so important UX Matters Home Page Design Snap judgments 1 Mano Singham examines decision making in relation to Malcolm Gladwell s book Blink Snap judgments and prejudices 2 Improving the quality of our snap judgments 3 Ted Talks Barry Schwartz author of The Paradox of Choice Why More Is Less In this video presented by TED Technology Entertainment Design Barry Schwartz explains how freedom of choice can be stressful and make us less happy a notion counter intuitive to those of us raised to think that freedom choice is better I think it s an idea we can apply to the content choices we present to our site visitors Stumble It Posted by Heidi Cool January 16 2008 03 45 PM Category Content Heidi s Entries How to Tips and Tricks design usability Trackbacks Trackback URL for this entry is Your home page is NOT your index it s your store front Comments Excellent article It s going in my binder thanks Posted by John of gCaptain on January 17 2008 05 45 AM I like the storefront metaphor I ve always said that if everything is important than nothing is important I ll add this to my delicious links so I can reference for a client next time I need to explain why it s important not to clutter up your homepage Posted by Brad Colbow on January 17 2008 12 16 PM OK let s take the bricks mortar metaphor to logical next step shall we Imagine you ve just walked into a store you look ahead and you see isles each marked with a distinct heading Frozen Foods Hygiene Alcohol Pet Foods et cetera You don t see all of the products at first glance but at the end of each isle facing you you see a selection of offers and featured products To your right is a selection of magazines newspapers and candy sweets next to the counter while to your left is an assortment of books videos and music Depending on what you re looking for you have enough information at first glance to make an informed decision Posted by Wayne Smallman on January 18 2008 05 01 AM Nice article The KISS principle always works best so why do we always need to be reminded of that Just human nature But I do think the store front metaphor is very apropos in keeping a client focused on their real needs I m even rethinking my own home page now Posted by CreekBank on January 20 2008

    Original URL path: http://blog.case.edu/webdev/2008/01/16/homepage.html (2015-11-11)
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  • Wayfinding within your Web site: Web Development Blog: Creative Services: Marketing and Communications: Case Western Reserve University
    to let users navigate between sections on large sites using the advanced templates or between all pages on smaller sites using the basic templates A secondary menu appears on each page of large sites using the advanced templates to provide navigation to all pages within a section Sites that have sections within sections may also incorporate tertiary menus near the top of the content area of pages within subsections A search box below the left hand menu allows users to search within the site for a particular topic or page The related sites box guides users to other sites Case or external that provide related content Blogs such as this site will typically use topical categories tags and date archives rather than the usual sectional navigation Wayfinding and navigation conclusions Navigational and menuing systems vary If you re the XYZ corporation your site may rely on searchable databases to display your enormous inventory of widgets If you re a small non profit with a lot of data you may have a site that is many levels deep and requires breadcrumbs in addition to or instead of secondary or tertiary menus The navigational tools you employ will often be determined by your content As long as it works effectively it doesn t matter which system you use If you include some basic wayfinding tools to let users know where they are and how to proceed you will improve the user experience increase the odds that they ll stay on the site now and or come back in the future Navigation and Wayfinding Resources A List Apart Where Am I by Derek Powazek Common mistakes of site structure Boagworld Interface Design Trunk Testing Navigation Accessibility 1 Menus and Links Web Usability Seven Steps To Easier Web Navigation by Constance J Petersen Web Pages That Suck Horrible Navigation Example Video by Vincent Flanders Unbelievable example of how to bewilder your site visitors Stumble It Posted by Heidi Cool February 26 2008 07 30 PM Category Content Heidi s Entries Tips and Tricks design navigation usability Trackbacks Trackback URL for this entry is Wayfinding within your Web site Comments I m guessing you ll be stringing all of these articles into some kind of resource once you ve finished Sound advice as always Posted by Wayne Smallman on February 27 2008 03 26 AM On e commerce sites i ve found breadcrumbs and having a search box are crucial The search box can also give you additional info about your visitors Posted by PPC Bid Management on February 27 2008 04 19 AM Thanks Wayne yes I expect I will string them together in some manner I ll have to see how the entries evolve and where the topics cluster PPC When it comes to e commerce you re absolutely right about the breadcrumbs When I shop online I m invariably wandering back and forth along the breadcrumb trails I think most sites with a large database can benefit from that type of functionality

    Original URL path: http://blog.case.edu/webdev/2008/02/26/navigation.html (2015-11-11)
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  • Copy Writing: Long vs. Short, Does it Matter?: Web Development Blog: Creative Services: Marketing and Communications: Case Western Reserve University
    rather than those who only pop by to leave comment spam are mostly interested in promoting sites services or products that fulfill the needs of your target audience If that is the case you probably don t need to fall back on the type of cheap manipulative tactics that Mike mentioned in his question It doesn t take a lot of arm twisting to sell an iPod But if you are promoting something new or unfamiliar persuasive tactics may help you to get the attention of your readers long enough to make your case In that case I would recommend hiring an experienced copywriter and or doing further research to determine which strategies are most appropriate for your goals That said persuasive marketing is no substitute for quality content products or services Whether you are promoting your recipe blog or your bookstore you ll only generate repeat traffic business if your audience likes or needs what you provide Examples of the manipulative techniques to which Mike refers Funny how they all start with How to eh How to Get Your Prospects to Do Exactly What You Want by Tormenting Their Brains If you read this DO NOT click the link for the exe file It may be safe but in general I don t trust executable files unless I know more about their origin I ve just included this for more background information How To Ethically CHEAT Your Way To A Money Sucking Web Site That Practically FORCES People To Eagerly Fork Over Their Hard Earned Money By The Truckload How To Get Your Hands On A FREE Copy Of Some Undercover Information That Made One Start Up Cash Strapped Company 81 671 12 In It s First 60 Hours Of Trading Additional copy writing and marketing references How Advertising Has Changed Long Copy Works Better Or Is It Short Copy Sales Copy Long or Short The Long and Short of Copy writing The Long And Short Of It Is That These Two Sales Techniques Are The Same Stumble It Posted by Heidi Cool December 5 2007 05 36 PM Category Heidi s Entries Writing marketing Trackbacks Trackback URL for this entry is Copy Writing Long vs Short Does it Matter Comments I can only really discuss this question from the point of view of my blog certainly with any degree of certainty about the merits perils et cetera In my experience the question is rather a silly one and that s not a sleight against yourself Heidi The length of the copy really is determined when the needs of the end user or consumer are identified in relation to the product service itself Because I discuss a range of topics the length of any given article may vary But that doesn t stop Kate my adjutant of sorts from constantly calling out the length of certain articles as being too much My view is if the article is a what if piece it s as long as it needs

    Original URL path: http://blog.case.edu/webdev/2007/12/05/shortlong.html (2015-11-11)
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  • Web Development Blog: Creative Services: Marketing and Communications: Case Western Reserve University
    voice is about you the writer Just as your speaking voice remains recognizable under different circumstances whether you re reading stories to small children or arguing about the gift return policy at the mall so too should your written voice November 14 2007 A picture is worth a thousand words but that s not always enough How to add captions to images in Photoshop On the Web it is preferable to place your caption in the HTML If that won t work and your captions are long you should also link to a place providing a description of the image and an alternative rendering of the text Colleagues of mine are involved in a project that involves adding captions to photographs Like many of you they aren t full time designers and haven t spent a great deal of time using Photoshop While they know how to crop and resize photos they ve not yet worked with type For those October 11 2007 Voice and Tone Writing to reflect your personality as well as your message Part 1 Last week someone posted a question to the WordNerds group regarding the importance of voice and tone in writing In particular she wanted to know how to convey the importance of voice and tone to colleagues who aren t professional writers Not having covered this topic previously I thought I d give it a go September 07 2007 Linkbait Tasty morsels to entice readers It sounds nefarious doesn t it Makes one think of bait and switch or that run down old bait store by the lake the one where they store the containers of nightcrawlers in the same cooler as the egg salad sandwiches Blech August 21 2007 University Main Web Homepage On line Discussion University Marketing and Communications is seeking additional community input as it continues its multi year process of reviewing the university s main homepage which was introduced with slight variations along with the new university logo in 2004 May 15 2007 Blogging your campus communiqués good customer service Graduating law students more prepared than ever for life after Case I m forever telling people that they should get a blog You could use it to make announcements publish procedures respond to questions share best practices and it s easy to use No we don t have time to write that sort of stuff Maybe you do maybe you don t But if your job has a customer service component you may be wasting your time if you re not blogging You re also missing a great opportunity to share your advice with your target audience CSO Blog A Case Study Usually when I give April 25 2007 Converting Word documents to HTML While I write my own copy for this blog and some of my other sites much of what I post on the Web is written by others This material comes to me in a variety of formats from Open Office to pdf files but most

    Original URL path: http://blog.case.edu/webdev/content/index (2015-11-11)
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  • More about your target audiences: Web Development Blog: Creative Services: Marketing and Communications: Case Western Reserve University
    the site visitor In the movie this creature provided a navigational advantage when they were on board ship as it could see both in front and behind It had a clear vision Yet if these heads did not work together if one wanted to wander south to drink water while the other wanted to go north to eat plantains then they would simply trip over their own feet and not accomplish either goal As web producers how can we best mesh these goals First we must understand them As we ve already analyzed our own let s think about those of our audience Who is your audience Keeping in mind the goals we determined last week the audience for our Department of Cartooning could potentially include Current Students Staff Faculty Prospective Students Staff Faculty Alumni Corporations Foundations Government Agencies and other potential donors Working cartoonists Newspaper syndicates and other media outlets Cartooning researchers and scholars Art directors from publishing houses and advertising agencies School children and their teachers Writers and other visual artists etc What content do they expect or hope to find on your site In some cases this may be obvious Current students probably want a list of professors and course descriptions Alumni may want networking resources For each audience you can probably come up with a list of resources they might desire But to really understand what they want the most direct approach is to ask them If you were the Behemoth Corporation you might do this by having your market research department conduct surveys and focus groups If you work on campus you might contact our marketing department to see if they have any pertinent data available Perhaps you could contact a professor at Weatherhead to see if you could get some students to help do

    Original URL path: http://blog.case.edu/webdev/2005/07/28/more_about_your_target_audiences.html (2015-11-11)
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  • Web Development Blog: Creative Services: Marketing and Communications: Case Western Reserve University
    it s become increasingly clear over the past month So rather than writing a typical how to or advice article today I ll just tell you about two recent events that really drive this message home October 13 2008 Northeast Ohio Resources for Blogging Social Media and Web Development The other day journalist Jimi Izrael sent out an e mail about a new blogging class he s teaching at Tri C It occurred to me that this might be a good opportunity for those of you in Greater Cleveland who are thinking of taking up blogging It also made me think that this would be a good time to share some of the other great resources available to bloggers Web developers and those interested in social media in Northeast Ohio Whether you want to take a class or network with others in the field here are some things that may be of interest September 16 2008 Social Media Your Interactive Information Resource In prior reflections on social media I ve mentioned how services such as Facebook de licio us Twitter etc can be effective marketing tools Much of this has to do with the fact that they foment two way communication When we join these communities and services we participate in a dialogue between our friends and contacts June 08 2008 Plurk Social Media Marketing in Action Something interesting happened last Sunday Plurk a new social network grew it s subscriber base from a handful of beta users to over 2 000 in one day Since then they ve continued to grow exponentially As a marketer and one of the 2 000 I think it s been a fascinating process to watch In this one week we ve seen some very effective marketing strategies in action Back in March I shared my reflections on social media networking and marketing but that was more a tale of slow growth Plurk s rapid growth gives us a chance to look at some of the techniques they used and see how effective they can be May 20 2008 Things we can learn from del icio us for use in our marketing endeavors Last week while catching up on podcasts I listened to Can Social Networking Build Your Brand Jason Schwartz s presentation from SXSW Interactive 2007 View his slideshow Jason crammed a lot of interesting ideas into his 25 minute presentation to which you should listen but his references to de licio us similicio us and Technorati got me thinking about what a tremendous resource de licio us can be April 15 2008 Maximize your marketing through blog networks and aggregator sites Lately I ve noticed that I ve been subscribing to more and more blog networks aggregators As a reader I like these because they help me discover blogs I might not have heard of otherwise As a blogger and marketer I like the aggregators of which I m a part or a similar reason they put my blog in front of

    Original URL path: http://blog.case.edu/webdev/social_networking/index (2015-11-11)
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  • Web Development Blog: Creative Services: Marketing and Communications: Case Western Reserve University
    marketing strategies As such social media when used for marketing still relies on basic marketing principles such as understanding your target audience the features and benefits of your product or service brand awareness and so forth December 29 2008 Social Media is People but more enriching than Soylent Green Everyone wants to know how to take advantage of social media Whether it s to promote a business or an academic program it s not unusual to hear people as How should we be using Twitter or What should we do with Facebook The questions often focus on the tools but as I ve mentioned before in Social Media Your Interactive Information Resource social media is about making connections human connections While this has been apparent to me for sometime it s become increasingly clear over the past month So rather than writing a typical how to or advice article today I ll just tell you about two recent events that really drive this message home September 16 2008 Social Media Your Interactive Information Resource In prior reflections on social media I ve mentioned how services such as Facebook de licio us Twitter etc can be effective marketing tools Much of this has to do with the fact that they foment two way communication When we join these communities and services we participate in a dialogue between our friends and contacts June 08 2008 Plurk Social Media Marketing in Action Something interesting happened last Sunday Plurk a new social network grew it s subscriber base from a handful of beta users to over 2 000 in one day Since then they ve continued to grow exponentially As a marketer and one of the 2 000 I think it s been a fascinating process to watch In this one week we ve

    Original URL path: http://blog.case.edu/webdev/social_media/index (2015-11-11)
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  • Plurk: Social Media Marketing in Action: Web Development Blog: Creative Services: Marketing and Communications: Case Western Reserve University
    quadrupled since Sunday Stumble It Posted by Heidi Cool June 8 2008 05 27 PM Category Heidi s Entries Social Networking Web 2 0 marketing social media Trackbacks Trackback URL for this entry is Plurk Social Media Marketing in Action Comments Heidi thanks for the mention I ve never heard of the Leo guy before but that s not how I found out about Plurk Someone recommended Plurk to me prior to the Sunday release but I have no idea who Got to hand it to the guys behind Plurk it s a fascinating lively and fun place to hang out Posted by Wayne Smallman on June 8 2008 06 42 PM Wayne As long as you keep writing interesting stuff that fits in with my posts I ll keep linking You ve never heard of Leo He s broadcasting live video of This Week in Tech live TWiT right now I started following him on Pownce awhile back and am subscribed to the TWiT podcast He covers some interesting stuff I think you d like the podcast What really struck me was how quickly other Powncers were posting their invite links after Leo s went out Suddenly everybody was jumping on board After we got over inviting each other then we were all watching each others Plurk posts to find our fellow Powncers That was still going on by Monday night as well though by then I d found most of my comrades Posted by Heidi Cool on June 8 2008 06 50 PM Thanks for feeding my Plurk habit Now I m off to use Flock to Plurk Gotta love these Web 2 0 names Posted by ThinkingSerious on June 8 2008 08 28 PM I had never heard of Leo either but a friend of mine follows him and it was my friend that introduced me to Plurk I am really enjoying Plurk and as Wayne said it is a fascinating lively and fun place to hang out I would like to add however something I consider I major PLUS What has really impressed me is how quickly Plurk is responding to user input The best example being how they integrated a Twitter Import so quickly It worked flawlessly for adding all my friends from Twitter in effortless fashion I think this already puts them way ahead of the game Posted by Twila Marie on June 8 2008 08 30 PM Good golly Leo Laporte is an ENORMOUS deal and got me into all of my favorite podcasts and webshows heck as a result of one of his episodes I went out and purchased an exercise ball to use at my computer instead of a chair Needless to say it hasn t worked so well but some people swear by it It s amazing what one big name can do for a service Actually kind of a shame too Posted by Andy DeSoto on June 8 2008 09 45 PM Plurk has many interesting components that make it stand out from the crowd This is certainly why it is catching on so quickly I wonder if they will continue to be interesting and innovative in the long run What is the long run in web 2 0 time Posted by Vaughn on June 8 2008 10 22 PM Vaughn That s a great question Things happen so fast that 6 months can be a long time Perhaps we won t really know for sure until we find ourselves in something that we ll one day recognize as Web 3 0 and can look back in hindsight Twila I ll have to check out the Twitter import tool Do they have one yet for Pownce I wonder Posted by Heidi Cool on June 8 2008 10 42 PM There really are some odd names in this online world aren t there I ve read about Plurk but didn t really get what the big deal was about it Now that I ve read your post and also followed some of the links you included in it thanks I might just have to go check it out for myself If it s up more than Twitter that s a good start Posted by Ann Cummings on June 9 2008 09 10 AM Not a fan of Plurk With all its uptime issues Twitter remains my favorite The simple and clean interface and 140 character challenge seems ideal Once you get into Karma action you start entering the world of MySpace It s back to high school and who s the most popular kid Posted by dave on June 9 2008 09 31 AM Ann yes they do have weird names I think the goal is for each to be memorable and easily modified into noun verb and adjectival forms Dave I think different users will always prefer different services Plurk is easier for me to follow than Twitter because I am used to the threaded discussions of Pownce But Pownce is still my primary because I rely on more than 140 characters For example on Saturday I asked What is your preferred presentation software on both Plurk and Pownce The consensus on both services was Keynote But on Pownce I had provided more information in my question and the responses did as well Rather than merely answering they gave reasons as to why they preferred what they did and included ideas on how they had done things in the past As for Karma you find people on Facebook Twitter Pownce FriendFeed etc clamoring to have the most friends followers to be considered popular so I don t think karma is any more competitive But as I believe Robert Scoble said awhile back it is likely that there is more value for most users to follow many people than there is in being followed Keeping tracks of others gives you access to information that may be more useful than large readership Also as karma points are rendered using some algorithm

    Original URL path: http://blog.case.edu/webdev/2008/06/08/plurk.html (2015-11-11)
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