Neo Insight's e-newsletter
on Usability topics and techniques.
In this issue
May 5-6: Gerry McGovern Masterclass: Creating customer-centric websites
Following an immensely successful 2-day Masterclass in November, we are pleased to announce that Neo Insight are bringing Gerry McGovern to Ottawa again in May. More than 280 people attended the sold out November workshop. The response to Gerry's powerful, communicative and entertaining style was overwhelmingly positive: "Gerry is an excellent, knowledgeable and entertaining speaker who captivates your attention throughout the session." and "Mr. McGovern offers some outstanding insights, research results, and advice." were typical feedback.
Gerry will be presenting his 2-day Masterclass - "Creating Customer-Centric Websites" on May 5-6, 2008. Find out more about Gerry's approach and techniques.
May 7: Special half-day session: Managing strategy on your website
In addition, many attendees told us that they needed a version of the Masterclass for senior managers and executives. We spoke to Gerry about this, and he has put together an additional special event to take place on Wednesday May 7. This half-day event is tailored specifically for those senior managers and executives who have to translate strategic plans and visions into coordinated actions by other people. In this special session, Gerry will show how a client focused approach will take your vision and generate positive action on your website, focused on your strategic objectives.
Additional opportunities to work with Gerry McGovern
In the few days following the workshops, Gerry will be available for a very limited number of private team sessions. Invite Gerry into your organization for a half day to work with your team, focused on your specific objectives and challenges! Be sure to book Gerry as soon as possible.
Stay in touch - don't miss the news
Once again, we will be working closely with the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation (OCRI) on the announcements and registration for these exciting events. The first workshop sold out quickly, so we recommend you:
Websites are just like the rest of us. They sometimes get out of shape, put on weight, have challenges that they find difficult to achieve, and sometimes lose sight of their priorities in all the stress and workload of day-to-day living.
Like us, maybe the New Year is a good time for your website to make resolutions. So just take it firmly by the hand, put it in front of a mirror, and get it to make the following resolutions: "I will...
But then you could be kind to your website. Say to it "Tell you what, let's not be too ambitious. Just pick any three of those to tackle this year and I'll give you my full support any way I can".
Some folks still seem to be finding it hard to understand some basics of Web content and how hyperlinks work. They're still producing web content as if it’s print. Still writing about things instead of being the things.
This happens at a high level, where websites talk about the wonderful services they provide for their clients, instead of providing excellent service. It also happens at a task level, where web pages give instructions as to what to do, rather than providing the links to allow the user to just do them (see our earlier newsletter article on this: Web content is where the action is!).
And it happens at a fine level of detail, too. We still see web pages where text describes links instead of being the link. Not sure what we mean? Here’s a couple of quick examples.Talking about a link: Interactions Magazine digital launch
We subscribe to Interactions Magazine, a publication of the ACM's Special Interest Group in Computer-Human Interaction (SIGCHI). Just recently, they announced a new online version. Great, because publishers provide lots of neat enhancements in their online versions - the ability to search, to download, to link to related articles, to email articles to others, etc. But right at the end of the announcement was the following paragraph:
"Click on the above cover image...(etc)"??? Why do they need to instruct the reader to look elsewhere on the page and to click on an image? And what would someone using a screen-reader make of a link called "Click on the above cover image...(etc)" that links somewhere else? Why not just provide the link right there, just when and where the user needs it, with an understandable label?
What makes this bit of instruction doubly absurd is that the underlined text actually is a link! So there's no need to talk about clicking on the cover image! In addition, a statement like "This link will take you directly to the digital edition...(etc)" is just a waste of space and of the reader's brain cells and effort. People know what links are by now, for goodness sake! The entire paragraph could have been replaced with something like:
And even that's perhaps a little wordy!
Talking about a link: Dell security policy
When you purchase a product from Dell, they provide information about their Secure Shopping Guarantee. All good and reassuring stuff. At the end of one description, there is a short paragraph:
Oh dear. Why would someone put this on a web page? Maybe they grew up writing for print and haven't yet caught on to how the web works. Why not just a link: More about Dell's security and privacy practices? But maybe Dell's Content Management System prevents the author from knowing the URL for the security link, and maybe central page content isn't automatically updated if the security destination page should move. Whatever the reason - individual or organizational - it's resulted in another little bit of absurd Web writing. What makes this example infuriating is that the text actually appears in a pop-up window which has no "lefthand sidebar"! There is nowhere to click!
Don't talk about the experience - be the experience!
Neo Insight's client base is growing rapidly, geographically as well as in numbers. We are looking for excellent individuals worldwide to help us grow - at first on a one-off contract basis, but building into a successful long-term relationship. If you have the right skills and experience (including the ability to work independently and in distributed small teams using collaborative technology), and think you would like to work with us, we'd be interested to hear from you.
Certain kinds of Customer Experience and usability work lend themselves more readily to our distributed small team approach. For working collaboratively at a distance, we would like associates to:
Quote of the month
“People commonly use statistics like a drunk uses a lamp post; for support rather than illumination.”
If you have any comments on The Insighter, or ideas on usability topics you'd like to hear about, send us an email with your comments.
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