Classic Radio Johnny: Ginny Redish on Writing Web Content That Works

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Show time: 45 minutes 19 seconds

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In a special series of podcasts that we’ll be calling “Classic Radio Johnny”, Jeff Parks shares some of the more popular discussions from the i.a.podcast; the show that helped to launch podcasts for Boxes and Arrows and now Radio Johnny.

In this discussion, recorded on February 11th, 2009, Ginny Redish shares some of the key ideas found in her book Letting Go of the Words – Writing Web Content that Works.


People come to websites for the content but they come with their scenarios, their stories, their needs, their questions! So when we think about creating great web content we have to understand the people who are coming…not only the question they are coming to get answered to the task…but we have to understand their attitude — their state of mind.

…[users] are probably not coming for the news about what a Vice-President did last week, they’re coming for some need of theirs. That’s really one of the issues Content Strategy has to deal with! If people were thinking strategically of heir content from the point-of-view of their personas; and the scenarios and conversations of their site visitors, they would change their strategy from being primarily news…to primarily things that satisfy the user.

Always put the context first. Explain what we’re talking about and then tell people what to do.


Along with great examples and stories relating to the importance of a content strategy, Ginny also discusses:

* The importance of emotion when writing for the web
* Scenario writing when building Personas
* How important is the home page?
* Still trying to blast the myth of the fold
* When and when not to use PDF
* Pathway pages
* Eye-tracking analysis
* Creating content in an inverted pyramid style
* Push versus Pull
* The importance of providing proper context to the content being written

Show Notes

* The Elements of Content Strategy by Erin Kissane
* Clout: The Art and Science of Influential Web Content by Colleen Jones
* Content Strategy Meet-up Ottawa Colleen Jones presenting in April 2011
* Web Content 2011 Web Content Conference, Chicago, Illinois
* CS Forum London, England


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Jeff Parks

Jeff is the co-founder of DIGIA UX Inc. and actively collaborates with industry professionals from around the world through his involvement with Boxes and Arrows and Johnny Holland. Jeff is also leading workshops on Information Architecture and User Experience Design over at Follow the UX Leader, in addition to volunteering his time as a Mentor and Member of the Board of Directors for the Information Architecture Institute.

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