•      A site should be informative and useful

•      about me: why am I talking to you?

•      Ed-Head or Tech-Head?

o      Five careers: writer, editor, web guy, drummer, dad

o      20 years editorial, 13 paid, 23+ years technical, 13 paid

o      (25 years musical, 14 paid)

o      (5 years dad, never paid)

o      editorial:

§       always a writer, did well in spelling tests, had SF novelist ambitions at age 11 with mom's Smith-Corona

§       first editing on Royal Oak annual 1981-82, grade 8

§       school papers, The Plague, Georgian

§       432, Campus Times

§       B.Sc.

§       first paid job Inside UBC 1990-91

§       first freelance WL (Jim Sutherland) 1991 - research

§       Dip.ACNF

§       researcher - lots of editing, Bill a client now

§       Neurotics

§       first big editing job 1995 - UBC Open House program

§       first mag work 1995 Gardens West - glamorous? Hell no!

§       1996 Van Mag

§       MSI tech work, kids

§       freelance 2001

§       EAC 2002

o      techie:

§       BCIT with dad

§       it's dark, go north, it's still dark

§       borrowed TRS-80 and thermal acoustic coupler setup via BC Tel

§       it's dark, go north, it's still dark

§       Apple II 1982 (same year as RO)

§       modems and BBSs 1983

§       Macs, PCs, DTP 1987-88

§       Internet 1990 via Usenet/BBS

§       task force 1992, BCLA Penticton

§       set up student listserv 1993

§       music 1992-95/2000-now - IUMA & mail list 1994

§       Web 1997, a job later that year

§       usability 1998 - WDDen & banner blindness

§       Jared Spool & newspaper

§       own site 2000, Neur 2001, AWB 2002, TTA


•      Questions for audience: Web site usefulness: What is a Web site for?

o      To get information or do something useful

o      People Google you

o      not just promotional - clients can keep up, file transfers, builds editorial (Web content editing) and technical skills and knowledge

•      Sites are for YOUR VISITORS to get info and do things

o      Two big purposes and one little one:

§       to get information

§       find an e-mail address, learn about a product, get a definition, read something educational or entertaining, look at movies or pictures, check snow conditions, find an editor

§       to do something

§       buy a book, get a map, play a game, lodge a complaint, download a program, design a business card, order a Gordon Campbell mugshot t-shirt, hire an editor

o      One little purpose, which only works if the first two do:

§       success for users vs. success for you

•      Same for Amazon! – http://www.amazon.com

•      what are people going to want to know? do?


•      A Web site is never “ready”

•      Start simple, build with a plan

o      Amazon, Yahoo, CBC news are all different than they were yesterday

o      start simple, then build with a plan - mine got big by accretion

o      1997-2003, 240 pages, 200,000 words, 700 images

o      20,000 visits last year (most repeats)

o      keep it organized; we’re editors, we’re good at that

o      don't wait for perfection, because you'll never reach it

o      always under construction, so put it up before it's ready, because it never is

o      no specific tools, I use few – learn some HTML

o      put it everywhere - mine came in a dream - use its e-mail too (jacket matches pants) – engraved on Leatherman

o      on your invoices, pens, biz cards, shirts, credit in publications

o      New York Hotel – http://www.mesuite.com

o      use Web services - if you think you need something, search for it

o      Read your stats

•      Usable or Cool?

•      Copy other sites, because that’s what users know

o      editors are in a good position to make good sites, because they are editing jobs

o      it’s all about text, and so are we

o      but we're mostly editors, not designers, so don't get fancy

o      good design isn't limiting, any more than good language -- but like it, you need to learn the rules

o      good print design = lousy Web design

o      Jakob's law: other sites – http://www.westbeach.com - my wife said “looks great, can’t find anything” – cool, not usable

o      look at sites you like and figure out why, then copy them

•      Useful or Usable?

o      What good is an elegant site with nothing useful on it?

o      put up anything you have that isn't likely to generate income

o      focus on words, not flashiness - Westbeach vs. Panic http://www.panic.com or http://www.mec.ca

o      no splash pages! – JWZ quote

o      keep URLs alive - Telus.net, Angelfire, biznet

o      redirect upon redesign

o      Web is still a text medium, which is good for us

o      title tag - write your name and what you are

o      never mind search optimization - name well, submit, and update

o      understand how Web writing differs

o      long vs. short copy http://www.clickz.com/design/write_onl/article.php/1569211

o      keep things up to date

o      use a weblog tool - make the Web more weblike

o      link link link - don't try to be sticky

o      not just usable - easy to find out a site is useless

•      Stay basic

o      As an editor you’ll be fighting for clarity

o      The trickier you are, the more likely you are to break things

o      Your arm or your visitor’s browser

o      http://www.w3.org/History/19921103-hypertext/hypertext/DataSources/WWW/Servers.html - list of entire Web from 3 November 1992 – still works!

o      like a magazine printed by a different press for each user

o      generally avoid curly quotes, odd characters, proper dashes

o      don't expect exactness (use PDF for that)

o      screen size & resolution, DPI, colour depth, fonts, OS, gamma, processor speed, plugins, connection speed, caching

o      test browsers, platforms, handhelds, dialup when you can -- ask friends or try at your house or a store

o      don’t listen to all this tightly, just examples:

o      html, xml, pdf, gif, jpeg, png, mp3

o      plain ASCII text (sort of), maybe rtf, JavaScript (if done right, tracker & blogrolling)

o      Flash, QuickTime, Real, Windows Media, mov, avi, mpeg, Java when necessary – http://www.rhymer.net

o      not doc, xls, ppt, db files, aiff, wav, bmp, pict, psd

o      make links to odd formats clear

o      avoid frames, new windows

o      client device diversity is increasing

o      this presentation made on a Mac, viewed on a PC laptop, backed up on a digicam

o      tricky sites have more trouble than basic ones – Safari