Tag Archives: excise

Spring’15 Class notes: Day 19 – Content & Writing; Excise

24 Mar

Learning Objectives:

At the end of class, students will be able to:

  1. Apply content strategy thinking to specific problems
  2. Apply principles for writing for the web
  3. Define excise
  4. Identify examples of excise and propose solutions for removing excise

We first tried to walk a few minutes in the shoes of a content strategist for Purdue CGT and thought how we would go about it and what it would be like.

Then, we looked at several homepages of similar products (Zotero, Endnote, RefWorks, Papers, Mendeley) and identified the following strategies they use for writing effectively on the Web:

  • Video (understandable without audio)
  • Short plain description
  • Use cases with screenshots
  • Clear & visible call to action
  • Where do I start? – CLEAR
  • Pattern: icon, title, 3 lines of text
  • Simple words, short sentences
  • Shallow structure – don’t make users click too many times!
  • Multiples headings
  • Vary layout, background, alignments
  • Minimalist color scheme

After you reviewed slides explaining the concept of excise and provided your own examples, you proceeded to think about how you would tell your story in your portfolio – and how you would write for people who don’t read.

Excise example: Papers2

24 Apr

One of the ways to avoid excise is to allow information entry where information is displayed. Asking the user to click a button to enter EDITING mode is excise – it makes the user work to fit the computer’s work processes.

Below is an example from citation management software Papers2 (which I love, overall), but I cannot tell you how many times I have clicked in the right bar where I can see the article’s information to try to edit the title, authors, or enter missing information (e.g. journal number, page numbers). To be able to edit that information, I HAVE to click the Edit button on the bottom right – because that’s how the software works, not because that’s how I (the user) think.

Excise example from Papers2