Sitegeist Blog - Beiträge vom October, 2009

Web 2.0 Defined: Do You Need It?

Friday, 23. October 2009 11:55

Web 2.0. It’s all the rage. For the past few years, it’s dominated online activity. Does it dominate you?

While some perverse folks dismiss the term ‘Web 2.0’ as meaningless, most agree that it’s used to describe ‘collaborative media’ or ‘social filtering’. Web 2.0 is all about interacting with your users/visitors/customers in an intimate and compelling way.

And, importantly, it’s about turning those people and interactions into a real community, allowing your site users to interact with each other. It’s brave. It exposes you to the judgement of the masses (or “the wisdom of the crowd”). It’s cool. It seems scary.

It’s not.

This Web 2.0 movement is marked by socially-orientated sites that utilise tools such as:

  • blogs
  • polls
  • wikis
  • RSS aggregation
  • Twitter
  • tagging
  • tag clouds
  • bit torrent (and peer-to-peer generally)
  • folksonomies
  • microformats
  • podcasts and vodcasts
  • user reviews and ratings
  • mashups.

So what does your site need? Anything here? Or does it all sound like gobbledygook?

What websites need is a clear strategic vision, not the latest widget.

Knowing your business and knowing your website visitors’ needs will let you figure out what tools to provide, and how to deploy them. Web 2.0 is not technology: it’s a mindset that lets users share and collaborate.

Is it a mindset that would help your business?

Maybe. Maybe not.

Are you a fish and chip shop? Chances are your web visitors want to know your address, opening hours, prices and contact info. Chances are they don’t want to hang out and discuss frying techniques…

Thema: Trends, Web dev | Kommentare (2) | Author:

Rough stop cock brass male – an experiment

Friday, 9. October 2009 9:28

It’s time. In an earlier post, we learned that newspaper websites, bloggers and more were chasing traffic by using ambiguous, vaguely sexual terms in their headings.

After some spirited comments, I decided to try it too, but for purely scientific reasons.

The headline here was suggested in comments by John Ford, an architectural lighting designer who knows a thing or two about puns.

He wrote:

I bought a tap at the hardware store a while ago which had written on the tag: “Rough Stop Cock Brass Male”, which roughly translates to a brass stopcock with a rough surface and a male thread. It makes me think of gay porn, not plumbing hardware… Not a headline though…

Oh, I beg to differ, Mr Ford. I think it’s a grand headline.

By the way, a search on Google for this series of words delivers 16 legitimate plumbing results before a porn return. The adwords spots, though, are pure smut (although some of the ladies out there might want to see just how hunky those hunks are…).

So check back at the comments here occasionally, and I’ll post updates on how traffic stats are going.

Thema: Being bad, SEO | Kommentare (2) | Author:

How to write alt text, and why you should

Friday, 2. October 2009 10:12

Alt text (alternative text) is the little bit of descriptive text that displays:

  • when you hover over an image in a browser, or
  • in the place of a broken or missing image

Importantly, alt tags are also used by vision-impaired users who rely on screen readers to gether information from websites. The alt tag is literally read aloud to these users.

So alt text describes the image. And it’s a requirement for accessibility for many government and business sites. And it’s also handy for SEO purposes.

But just saying what’s in the image isn’t enough. When describing a photo of a monkey wearing a fez, it’s not enough to write “monkey wearing fez”.

Designers work hard to create or source images that evoke a feeling. Images are a significant part of the ‘voice’ of any good website. Just like writers, designers are attempting to say something. Don’t the vision impaired deserve to share that?

So set aside SEO considerations (alt text isn’t that important anyhow). Actively write alt text. Describe the emotion as well as the content of the image. Write alt text for humans. “A scary monkey wearing a red fez poses for the camera”.

It’s good for usability. It’s good for creativity. And it’s good for the soul.
A scary monkey wearing a red fez poses for the camera

Thema: Being good, User focus | Kommentare (1) | Author:

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