Creators Code: How to Avoid Death by Words

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<ul><li><p>Creators Code: How to Avoid</p><p>Death by WordsA Checklist for Creators: 10 Ways to Improve IX, the UX of Information</p><p>2013 Sridhar Machani</p><p></p></li><li><p>Impressions are made everywhere and everytime: Everyone judges your product by what they see, hear, and read about your product.</p><p>Buying decisions are made at almost every such impression, or the user experience (UX).Test: Have you ever bought a product or subscribed to a service that had spelling mistakes, confusing text, ugly looks, or reputation of bad-mouthing users?</p><p>Why care about IX (Information Experience)?</p></li><li><p>How to avoid: Common traps: Write, edit, and prepare content Suicide: Inside the product (in-app) Poison: Outside the product Infections: Interacting with users Conspiracy: Support Trial: Documentation Prison: Blog Execution: Social</p><p>Agenda: 10 ways to avoid death by words</p></li><li><p>1. Common traps: Write</p><p> Be human, write for the humans, not for devices Write for your audience (Normal users? Admins? </p><p>Developers?) Keep it informal, active, direct, and simple Separate content by concepts, procedures, and references </p><p>(where possible) Use screen-shots/images, flow-charts, and videos if words </p><p>are not enough Dont steal content (theres no undo online)</p></li><li><p>2. Common traps: Edit</p><p> Remove words that are: Unwanted Ambiguous Hurtful, sarcastic, or controversial</p><p> Check for consistent usage of words and style (use either UI or user interface throughout)</p></li><li><p>3. Common traps: Prepare</p><p> Spell check everything (UI elements, web pages, error messages, emails)</p><p> Proof read for right meaning and context (trial and trail are both correct spellings, but which one do you mean?)</p><p> Use readable font size and styles (purple text on black background is unreadable)</p><p> Repeat the cycle; get more eyes to review</p></li><li><p>4. Suicide: Inside the product (in-app)</p><p> First-use experience Guide users how to use core functions with warm, welcoming words Show how to get back to home page/screen and how to get help</p><p> Retain known names and shortcuts for common tasks in the UI Take permissions and inform users about delicate tasks (saving </p><p>personal data or sending data to third-party apps) Notifications</p><p> Dont disturb users when theyre sad/angry (I wish we knew how :-)) Interrupt only if you must Show meaningful messages</p><p> Remove clutter and distractions</p></li><li><p>5. Poison: Outside the product Website: </p><p> Ensure users can easily navigate, sign-in and sign-out, find help, and contact you </p><p> Tell them who you are App stores: </p><p> Tell users what works, what doesnt Tell them what is free, whats not</p><p> Newsletters/Brochures: Tell stories, try not to sell on every page Ads: </p><p> Show or talk about your core functions, not every feature Dont clutter</p></li><li><p>6. Infections: Interacting with users</p><p> Be nice: Talk to them like you would talk to close family and friends Show empathy and the benefit of doubt - you dont know what </p><p>battles theyre fighting Be fair: </p><p> Keep promises - nobody forgets whats due to them Dont argue - youll be a loser even if you win If theyve made mistakes, give them a chance to exit or come good</p><p> Be transparent: If youve made a mistake, admit it Dont mislead them, especially in matters of money and privacy</p></li><li><p>7. Conspiracy: Support Problems: </p><p> Diagnose the issue before starting to fix a problem Sometimes users think its a problem, but it may not be, or it </p><p>may lie somewhere else Set expectations - price, terms, what is/is not covered, ETA Watch out for users who complain, and more so for those who </p><p>dont complain at all Forms (in-app): </p><p> Gather information that you really need to fix an issue Avoid collecting or storing sensitive data</p></li><li><p>7. Conspiracy: Support (Continued)</p><p> Emails/IM: Read users emails/messages before responding Collate requests and instructions, instead of sending an </p><p>email/message for each item Forum:</p><p> Monitor, moderate, and respond in reasonable times Phone:</p><p> Its better to use phone calls for escalations or critical functions Unless you can sustain quality phone support, stick to emails/forums On a call, be patient, soft, and courteous, and hear the users out</p></li><li><p>8. Trial: Documentation</p><p> A rough draft is better than nothing Organize and visually separate topics based on concepts, procedures </p><p>(install, upgrade, configure, customize), and references Publish PDF, HTML guides (some of us still like to print and read) Videos are great for users with high Internet bandwidth - for others, </p><p>publish audio and transcript versions of the videos Involve writers early in the game - from planning and design Involve support teams to identify areas of focus that need extensive </p><p>documentation (more screenshots and examples) Send beta docs to some users for early reviews and bug fixes Its a constant cycle - draft, review, fix/update, publish</p></li><li><p>9. Prison: Blog</p><p> Write about topics that help and entertain users Great place to talk about your product updates, timelines, </p><p>plans, and teams Write about industry topics and win brownie points Keep it official, not such a good idea to talk about your </p><p>family problems Be prepared for all kinds of user comments - its up to you </p><p>to moderate it, just let the users know about it</p></li><li><p>10. Hanged: Social</p><p> Use social media platforms to build relationships and engage with users</p><p> Its about your companys brand - what it stands for Post and respond regularly Be careful what you write/share - it cant be taken </p><p>back Analyze and identify trends - no news is generally NOT </p><p>good news out there</p></li><li><p> Less support calls/requests -&gt; more savings High user recommendations and ratings -&gt; </p><p>growth in users and revenue Users' trust and confidence -&gt; easier to upsell </p><p>and market other products </p><p>What does it all mean for your business?</p><p>Good information experience can bridge a lot of gaps</p></li><li><p>Need Help? Questions? Suggestions?Contact me!</p><p>Creators Code, the book</p><p>It would be great to elaborate on these topics with lots of examples, comparisons, and HOW-TO procedures. </p><p>That is precisely my objective in this upcoming book. If you would like your product to be discussed or if you </p><p>have a suggestion, please drop me an email at</p><p>Ongoing Retainer Let me keep a tab on all your content on a weekly or monthly basis</p><p>Full-day Workshop</p><p>Organize a group learning session for your team for one or more days</p><p>Newsletter</p><p>Signup for Creators Code blog posts and updates at</p><p>One-time Report</p><p>Get a detailed PDF report of all your content on the web and in mobile apps</p><p>mailto:sridhar.machani@gmail.com</p></li></ul>


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