Letting Go of The Words

Janice Redish gives an outline on how to create a website. Her main point throughout the read is that we must communicate to our audience. She breaks down different ways on how to connect to the audience. First she says successful writing doesn’t start with typing of words it starts by finding out what is your audiences needs because finding this out will help your content out so much because it will be understood so much better. Then she list seven steps that will help you the creator understand your audience. Those steps are list the major audience, gather information about audience, list major characteristics for each audience, use your information to create personas, included the persona’s goals and task, and use your information to write scenarios for your site. Then for the rest of the chapter she breaks up each task on how to do it.

When listing your audience make sure you list user groups and not get caught up on naming departments. When gathering information about your audience answer some questions such as think about your mission, read emails that come through your contact us and other feed back links, talk to marketing, talk to customer service, make people fill out a questionnaire, watch and listen to people, interview people, and do usability testing of the current content you have. Redish is trying to tell you that if you answer or go through all these task, it will make your site that much better. Next when listing major characteristics for each audience make sure you have key phrases, experiences, emotions, values, technology, and demographics. Answer and find out what each audience users has to say or likes to do with all those key characteristics I just said. Then when your audience ask questions, do task or even have stories make sure you gather all those up. Don’t translate them keep the users words because you want them to understand your site and if you keep their words then they won’t be confused. Next is using the information to create personas. If you don’t know what a persona is, it is an individual with a name, a picture and specific demographic and other characteristics. It is just a composite of characteristics of many real people. Redish explains that the personas don’t need to be fancy at all or spend lots or time or money on them. The information that goes into a persona is experiences, phrases, emotions, values, and demographics. You should add a picture to it because it is a critical part of the persona and also add the personas goals to it too. Lastly is that when you have all the information you need, you should write scenarios for your site because it will give you a good sense of the type of people that come to your site and what they want to do at your site.

In chapter three it talks about how to start well with your web page. Redish talks about how if you want a successful web page then you need to have what the people want, make sure they understand what they find and act appropriately to what they find. Home pages can be content rich but don’t make them wordy because people don’t really care about the home page they just want to find their information and roll with it. A useful home page makes your site so much more clear. Redish says that a useful home page has a brief description and is mostly all links so that the users can get what they want easy and quick. When you identify your site make sure you have a logo, name and a tag to identify it, but make sure that when your explaining it that it is not too wordy. Make it easy for the users to understand your site quickly and make sure its well organized too.

After doing all the things that Redish said about making a site, make sure you answer the five functions that Redish discussed and they are did you identify the site? Did you set the tone and personality of the site? Did you help people get a sense of what the site is all about? Did you let people start key task immediately? Did you send people on the right way effectively and efficiently? If you and your site can answer those five questions, then you have a successful site.


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