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IDF – Effective Web Communication #16

IDF – Effective Web Communication #16

Interaction Design Foundation asked us the following questions about how to make our website meet the requirements that bring consumer trust and loyalty.
We, too tired to resist, answered without verve:

How can you demonstrate integrity?
Money-back guarantees; clear and succinct product descriptions; clear reasoning and clearly good intentions in essays; make contact info on front page and respond to people who write; product reviews that include unfavorable as well as favorable reviews

How can you increase familiarity with your company?
Put a short About Us blurb on the bottom of the homepage and link it to a FAQ page; make contact info on front page and respond to people who write

How can you demonstrate benevolence?
keep everything clear and concise

How can you demonstrate competence?
product testimonials, avoiding errors, making site clear

How can you demonstrate partnerships with reputable companies?
We could have a page about who makes the totes and other physical products

How can you lend to the perception of a high market orientation?
give surveys asking people what book else they’d like us to offer and other changes they’d like to see; if some wish is overwhelming, go with it, explaining why we did

What does it mean to develop a high quality website?
Easily navigable, clear, free of errors, pleasant and satisfying to use because with minimal confusion it brings you valuable content

How can you use a typical interface while maintaining originality?
writing style and content can be original within a standardly laid-out website

Suggestion to IDF – Effective Web Communication Course

Suggestion to IDF – Effective Web Communication Course

You know I am suspicious of advertisers and of their arts, which are also used by UX designers. Maybe a unit on the moral implications of UX design, of how it can bend towards evil and how it can bend towards good, and some way to once and for all demonstrate that one should choose the good. Maybe that would be a good course.

And with that, the course is completed.

[:en]Auto Draft[:fr]UX – Effective Web Communication – #14[:]

[:en]Auto Draft[:fr]UX – Effective Web Communication – #14[:]

[:fr]The boys spent this essay question criticizing the multiple choice question, gotcha-ing a typo in the lesson, and otherwise wasted an hour. No one’s proud of this and outside the sky’s taken on the most eery orange I’ve seen since we left Mars.

From the Interaction Design Foundation:

​Question 1
How does persuasion work? (1 point)
By presenting an airtight case
By inviting your audience to view the world as you do
Through demonstrating your similarity with your audience

Essay Question
What are the demographic characteristics of your target audience? …
Choose the 3 most prominent of these characteristics to your target audience. Use your favorite search engine to conduct a search along the lines of “values of xxx”, … What are the most prominent values you’ve located? … Which of these values coincide with your company’s values? Which with your own personal values? … How can you reflect these shared values in your website?

And they also asked us to consider the language of our target audience.

From the WAP Staff:

First of all: Question 1 is stupid. Demonstrating similarities between yourself and your audience is one persuasion trick, not “how persuasion” works. Persuasion can be done more or less evilly. Persuading people to vote for you based on having an accent like theirs and sharing their prejudices is an evil way to persuade them to vote for you. Persuading people to vote for you by explaining to them how your policies will improve the community is a good way to persuade them to vote for you. You could make the case that good persuasion is done by convincing others to follow those aspects of themselves that are best, but the best aspects of a human being are all the same: the divine light within. And appealing to that is the opposite of appealing to narrow identity politics.

Second, look at this:
The above research, though from disparate academic disciplines converges ​

It needs a comma after “disciplines”.

Third: What’s the question?

Ah yes, our target audience.

[Responding to the list of demographics suggested by IDF]

Socioeconomics: enough money and leisure to buy a $4 ebook and possibly a $15 novelty tote.
Religion: We are desperately reaching out to all faiths and all points within the conservative-liberal theological spectrum. Note that we consider things like secular humanism, artism, sciencism, and who-cares-ism to be faiths. People have more than one faith. Our demographic should by rights be everyone, but perhaps people with more inclusive viewpoints would be more likely to bother with us than people with more fundamentalist leanings. At least in the beginning, before we win everyone over with Purest Love.
Region: English-speaking world, which is now everywhere.
Political leaning: Again, Something Deeperism [the position that there is a Truth and we humans Know It and must learn to better and better understand and follow It; but this Knowledge is not literal/definitive; it is more a process and a pointing-towards than the sort of thing you can catch in ideas and/or feelings] wants to connect with everyone and to help us all to build a common set of values upon which we can build a common future. We are seeking a faith from which we can all start. It must, however, be admitted that at least initially–before our good-intentions win over every heart, mind and soul–our readership may be more rather than less politically liberal.
Ethnicity: It is against our dogma to admit the existence of different races and ethnicities. All slides together as an interrelated ooze. I suppose that many in our readership will self-identify as “human beings first, with xyz race creed nationality profession or etc distant seconds”; but no one’s dogmas are perfect and we hope that a wide range of notions will read our book and be gently led to greater and greater wisdom. And let us not forget that not everyone has the luxury of this quiet perch.
Education: Our readership–were it to exist–would enjoy ideas and literature. I worry that this imagined readership will be disappointed by our first offering, in which case we’ll have no readership.
Gender: All genders beg all the time for Pure Love
Age: Adults

Values of theological liberals:

True Religion involves living the Truth rather than agreeing to any specific set of ideas about the Truth.
True Religion can be seen by its fruits: compassion, kindness, wisdom; and these fruits are not the sole possession of any one faith. So demand compassion, kindness and wisdom of yourself and others, not the recitation of a creed.
The point of religion is not historical details, but the Way the religion points towards. So don’t lose time, energy, and human connection arguing, for example, over whether or not Jesus really rose from the dead.

Every staff member shares these values. And they are enshrined in our company mission statement.

Values of book lovers: more liberal, less disciplined, value beautiful writing, engaging writing []

The former is perhaps true of Wandering Albatross Press, but we don’t want to encourage narrow sectarianism and so will not discuss politics on the landing page. As to the latter: we are vehement supporters of discipline–at least we vehemently ​mean to be. We can’t seem to match our aspirations with our reality on this one, so we will not discuss this confusion on the landing page. On second thought, maybe we will: since it is a common problem and one our readers probably share.

We also value beautiful and engaging writing.

Valuable intellectual traits: What our readership is aiming for: intellectual curiosity, empathy, courage, autonomy, integrity, perseverance; fair-mindedness []

Staff and organization also value these traits.
Note that the old problem remains: the decent UX designer does not give people what their shallows think they want, but what their souls really want/need/are; however, while all humans deepdown long for these traits, our readership would, were we capable of writing a book worthy of having a readership, probably be more aware of their inner longing to develop these traits than the average bystander.

How can we reflect our shared values (meaning to be more disciplined than we are; beauitufl and engaging writing; Something Deeperist ethos [discussed in the values of theological liberals]; valuing intellectual traits like curiosity, empathy, courage, integrity … )??

We can be better organized. The landing page can point to an overview of Something Deeperism: a well-written, intellectually worthy overview and guide to essays on Something Deeperism (two birds with one stone). And the selection of writings can also link to a page introducing and organizing selections of other author’s writings we’ve culled from Project Gutenberg and laid out to dry on page after epage–that would be a way to share a love of good writing with our readership. Naturally, it would also be nice if we could write beautifully and engagingly throughout the site.
I’m not sure how to approach our shared sense of inadequate discipline. On the one hand, grovelling in it is counterproductive; on the other hand, pretending it away is also counterproductive. We’ll leave it as it is: peppered with confessions of our misgivings in our activities and their results.

Target audience’s language

Formality of language (very informal/much slang to very formal/no slang) – Varying, depending on the joke. The main thing our readership loves is a good literary joke.

Level of language (simple language to high vocabulary). Again, it depends on the joke.

Sentence length (short bursts or lengthy thoughts). All these depend on the joke employed in a given moment.

Level of business savvy reflected in language use (very savvy or somewhat clunky)

All this for five points? Where have I gone wrong in life?[:]

[:en]Auto Draft[:fr]IDF – Effective Web Communication #13[:]

[:en]Auto Draft[:fr]IDF – Effective Web Communication #13[:]

[:fr]The Interaction Design Foundation asked:

Consider the baseline message you want to send with your website.
On a scale of 1-10 (1= not at all, 10= extremely), what is the complexity of the message you have to deliver?
Given this complexity level, is rich media high in social presence more desirable? Or lean media low in social presence?
Given your response to number 2, what sensory channels would be optimal to employ in delivering your message?
For each channel identified in 3, what media stimulation can you provide?
For each media stimulation channel identified in 4, what can you reasonably do to help construct presence? (e.g. use high-definition video recording device)

Bartleby made up a terrible lie, the way kids will when trying to shove past an essay question. Complete bullshit:

​1-5. What is the baseline message of the landing page? We’d like people to buy the book and to otherwise read what we write. We’d like reading our works to be consciousness expanding. So it would be nice if the landing page communicated that we were worth reading and didn’t lie. That’s a fairly complex message and one that undermines itself with deception. Furthermore, what we’re selling is our writings; it makes sense to tell people we’re worthwhile authors in a video than in text. So our landing page should be lean in rich media and high in beautiful prose. A little visual finery is fine, but mostly we should just paint images with language. So the senses engaged could be all, but via the medium of writing. So presence will be created through beautiful, descriptive writing that touches the senses by waking them through the mind.

Question IDF
Response BW
Innocent Bystander: AW[:]

IDF – Effective Web Communication – #12

IDF – Effective Web Communication – #12

Interaction Design Foundation today suggested we reconsider our homepage’s pictures and words.

​Visual: OH I love the painting of the young 1700s author in inkwell-pausing contemplation. He communicates: We are trying to do a good job here, but we’re so awfully young, and have been ripped from foreign far-flung times before we could acclimate to them and placed here, in this strange netherworld of floating bits of thought and color: God help us!, people forgive us! and somehow if you could please help us we feel ourselves caught between the rough granite mortar and pestle, feel ourselves oozing out on all sides. Visually appealing: check; Building Familiarity and (lonely oh so lonely) presence: check; reducing uncertainty: ??? well, you are learning what you will get here: a lonely lost forgetful little boy turned author from the would-be-classicist-but-too-broken-hearted-to-stay-within-the-lines school.


See below for info on WAP ebooks, novelty gifts, a Pure Love advertisement/gimmick/scam/lark, as well as intros to the poetry and assorted what-not that Bartleby Willard—as isolated and mournful as a blue whale quietly circling the sevenseas—lobbed onto this site during the six years he was supposed to be staying on task.​


See below for info on WAP ebooks, novelty gifts, Pure Love ads/scams, and intros to the poetry and assorted what-not Bartleby Willard—as isolated and mournful as a blue whale quietly circling the sevenseas—lobbed onto this site during the six years he was supposed to be staying on task.​

STREAMLINED it a bit. Considered taking the passive out of the end of the sentence, but decided I liked how it wrapped around reader and author, cuddling them together in the shameful sorrow of an almost-author almost-working all the time.

On the whole, I think this front page does the best it can. It gives readers a sense of the author (building familiarity and presence) while introducing the various offerings of the site. It is a little long-winded and self-indulgent in spots, but that’s part of explaining to would-be readers who we are: so sad, so lonely, so defeated by the monster, lying there flatback on the cold cement having given-up; yet trying, hoping, pushing for a better way, for Beauty which lifts up all. What about uncertainty? Are we reducing that? I think so: we’re making it very clear what is offered: a book, some novelty items, lots of literary doodles, lots of giveup. Is this what people want? What???
I ask you: What is a human being to do in a time so jumbled, chaotic, and likely to blow up as our own? They speak of a post-truth society, and we say: is there no way home from here? Is there no hope for shared truths founded upon a shared Truth? They say: work hard and go for it!, and we say: what? We can’t hear you, but do you see the ten gazillion scraps of thought and action flying from every direction, running like lemmings or Jesus-cursed pigs over the cliff?

When net-neutrality goes, even less people will see our pathetic little tappings at the overhead ice. Oh, someone pull them out! Someone break the ice! This is too terrible! To watch them through the cloudy scarred ice as the wrap their impotent tired little fists against four feet of frozen solid! Never were very good swimmers, nor much for holding their breath. Quite sad really–just not up for the task at hand; wrong training and all that.


IDF – A Question on UX Portfolios

IDF – A Question on UX Portfolios

BW and AW, WAPs’ marketing / anti-marketing department, contemplate another question from the Interactive Design Foundation: supposing that rather than always designing for the incomparably magnificient Wandering Albatross Press, they desired employment elsewhere (a desire that they cannot comprehend; wouldn’t anything be a step-down from the world’s oldest, most successful, celebrated, and charming publishing house?), how would their portfolio communicate their passion and enjoyment of UX design. Their answer to the question focuses more on how they could stand to work as professional UX designers (ie: can it be done in a way that is more good than evil??) than on the IDF’s question.

Since we’ve never worked in UX or anything related, our portfolio would consist of personal projects. We can improve our website and book, and we can also help friends and family improve the UX of their websites.

But could we ever love working with UX design? We’ve chosen this direction because we want to find ways to push against media manipulation. We want to raise user awareness so that they are less susceptible to the mindless consumption of opinions, vanities/insecurities, and desires. We think UX design will help us learn both the wholesome methods UX designers employ (considering the user and their needs, making the application intuitive and engaging) as well as their evil tricks (seducing with unspoken narratives of coolness, glamour, worldly success; using rich content to turn off brains so you can dump your message down into their poor hapless psyches). Our goal is to create user experiences that increase awareness of media’s impact on their thoughts and feelings and increase, while also creating engaging and satisfying user experiences. Are these goals compatible? Or do people truly want to be told sweet little lies rather than the truth? And if people are more aware of their user experience, won’t they turn off their phone more and give all sites less attention? After all, most of us spend too much of our conscious space on these distractors. Perhaps we can build a trend towards more and more openness in both design and business practices. Such a movement would probably reduce total screen time, but increase meaningful engagement with media content. That should should benefit honest companies whose values truly match up to their users. But of course, part of the problem is that we individual humans do not have adequate values.

For UX design to actually help humanity, it needs to be paired with a successful push for better values: more clarity, honesty, kindness, shared joy; less greed, vanity, lust, in-vs-out crowdism, us-vs-them. We need consumers to be better people and to demand better business practices; but at the same time (and reciprocally–for consumers and producers influence each other) we need businesses to be better too and to put limits on consumers: just because some twitch within people desires X, doesn’t mean we are going to stoop to making X.

We need the world’s businesses to care first about serving their customers, employees, and communities and last about serving their shareholders. Yes, companies need to turn a profit, but if that’s all they care about, they are going to make decisions that prioritize short term financial gain over human decency and fellowship and such a decision making process inevitably shades into corruption: if the ends justify the means, who cares how much harm we may be doing to individuals, societies, our shared resources, and our shared value-scape? And as money concentrates itself, it seeks to influence popular thought and the politic process, thus undermining socieity’s ability to set boundaries on business. All managers and employees must remain aware of these evils and of their duties to push against them.

Our plan is to improve the user experience of my site and a few friends’ sites, while also (if possible) making that experience raise awareness of their surroundings, the notions these surroundings are pouring into their minds, and how these notions relate to what they deep inside actually care about. We’d also like to build a few web pages whose sole purpose is raising awareness of cognitive biases, how media manipulates those biases, what we can do to fight against these manipulations, and the how we are never as good at fighting against these manipulations as we think we are.

If there was no WAP and so we needed to work out in the cruel world, and if we really got into it and want to turn it into a career: what then? Then we’d make case studies outlining my design processes, what we’ve learned along the way, and why the work matters to us. There are companies and non-profits who honestly want to be transparent and put people over profits. They’d be interested in a UX designer who has given some thought to how UX design can be part of the solution rather than part of the problem in this era of media bombardment.


IDF – Web Communication – Question 11

IDF – Web Communication – Question 11

Today the Interactive Design Institute asked us to make a plan to get user feedback for the site. This question did not raise our ire at all; we drifted lazily past it in a gently-rocking flat-hulled skiff, coolly embraced by dark swamp waters and engulfed in an umbrella of soft curly evergreen penetrated by darts of strong Florida sunlight.

Our budget is extremely limited; read: there is no budget.
We can afford to question a few people who we think would be interested in the kind of book we’re offering about their experience of the site. We can also give them a free copy of the book and ask for feedback about both the content and the format (order of chapters; organization of footnotes and other hyperlinked sections). And we can monitor (visitors who click on a product / visitors) as well as (visitors who purchase a product / visitors).


IDF – Question 10

IDF – Question 10

Today the interactive design foundation asked us to pick an SEO phrase and use it in five different sentences in five different parts of speech.

We, who just really don’t know what to do with ourselves and cannot tell if this puking nausea is coming out of us or into us, told them to go fuck off:

Pure Love must be a great God, creating, sustaining, shining through, and ultimately overwhelming, absorbing, and absolving every particular thing. (subject)

When caught within the drab and dull, the thud and cough of ​resignation: sink into your pit and push out from within, reaching with everything you have in every possible direction for Purest Love. (prepositional phrase / adverbial phrase)

The mindlessly whirring ad campaign quite forgot Pure Love, and so wasted another big slab of time, energy, focus, and most of all soul. (object)

Since only Pure Love knows what actually matters, to the degree Pure Love does not guide one’s thought and actions, one thinks and acts meaninglessly. (subordinate clause; followed by prepositional phrase / adverbial phrase).

Lost children of a fallen star, ignoring Pure Love’s call, too aroused and confused by infinitely cascading edreams to notice Beauty, we seek rewarding careers that demand all our creative energies and also offer good salaries and great benefits packages. (adjective phrase)


IDF – Question 9

IDF – Question 9

Today the Interaction Design Foundation asked:

“Using the information in this lesson item, what can you do to increase each of the following? If you don’t want to increase something, note that as well.

AMW & BW took a quick stab at that slippery eel of a question:​

Trust: Make sure the site is as professional, safe, enjoyable and usable as possible

Specifics: No spelling or grammar errors or bugs in delivery;

easy navigation to high quality work [ex: right now the page with an overview of the writings is a mess that needs to be organized so that the reader can easily find the type of writings they are looking for, with the better writings at the top of the list and the others at the bottom];

money-back offers prominent and honored

use third party money-takers like paypal and stripe that people already trust;

all ebooks should be readable and beautiful [when a writer asks a reader to spend their time and energy on their book, the writer is asking for trust, and so we want to err on the side of removing more content rather than the side of getting in every clever little point (ouch! how do you do that?!?)];

if we are ever going to actually have a readership, we’ll need a system for monitoring emails and the Buy the Books page should be shorter
Familiarity: We can release the books on other forums (like Amazon and B&N) and submit works for reviews. [Right now the site is basically a secret, which is just as well, since isn’t ready for visitors.] We’ll have to get the mailing list up and running so we can send out updates about products and maybe weekly (short!) writing selections.


We need to make sure these elements are high quality: 1) tangibles, 2) the combination of responsiveness, reliability, and assurance, and 3) empathy (Gefen, 2002a).​

Most of these have been discussed in the Trust and Familiarity sections. What does Grefen, 2002a mean with “empathy” here? The site anticipates users needs? “Empathy” for the user or for all sentient beings? Let’s have a lesson on this use of “empathy” please.


Again the lesson noted that there’s a trade-off with Presence: rich media creates the illusion that the user and the product/company/site really are pals hanging out (named here: “presence”) and that increases user’s motivation to engage with the site’s message; but the rich media (and probably most fundamentally their veg-out in this pretend hang-out, a pleasant escape that’s painfully undone by awareness and critical thinking) decreases their ability to process the message.

That’s no trade-off for decent advertisers! We want to raise, not lower awareness. We don’t want to lull people into pretend romances with us while sticking our grubby products down their drowsy mouths. We want to share aware joy–the only kind that’s worth pursuing.

This by way of saying, let’s not put too much rich media into the main pages of this website. If we want to post a skit on it’s own page like we posts poems on their own page: that’s fine. That’s a skit and understood as one. And, like a poem, it is a way to build presence by being your whole self in front of your audience. Right? It isn’t always immoral to create rich media experiences, just when you’re using them to try and fool people into pretending you’re their friend and you’re hanging out being real cool together so cool and so’s this cat tote that we’re selling, so cool, so very cool.

Well, there’s degrees of degradation in all human endeavors. We’ll try to push towards less bullshit with the scheme sketched above. We can also create rich media contents that unmask themselves, which will help users increase their general savvyness.


IDF – Web Communication – Question 8

IDF – Web Communication – Question 8

This time the Interaction Design F​oundation listed a bunch of tips for making copy snappier and then asked us to rewrite something. We rewrote their example of snappy text: The Gettysburg Address. Then we wrote a little essay about Lincoln’s question: how to make a nation helpful to God. No real answer is found, a few wheels are spun, we skip out again into the sunlight, looking for a breeze.

Before Gettysburg Address

Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure.

We are met on a great battlefield of that war.

We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live.

It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground.

The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract.

The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us —

that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion —

that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain;

that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom;

and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.

After Gettysburg Address

Twenty-seven years ago our fathers established a new nation, conceived in liberty and proposing universal equality.

Now a great civil war tests whether ours or any nation so conceived and dedicated can long endure.

Voici a great battlefield, a portion we now dedicate as the final resting place for lives here sacrificed that our nation might live.

Surely fitting and proper. But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, consecrate, hallow this ground.

Brave soldiers, living and dead, consecrated it far above our poor powers.

The world may not long remember our words, but it can never forget their deeds.
Let us living men, rather, dedicate ourselves to the unfinished work they’ve thus far so nobly advanced.
Let us, rather, accept the great task remaining before us –​
taking from these honored dead increased devotion to what they sacrificed their last full measure;
Demanding purpose for their deaths;

that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom;

and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.

The Gettysburg Address breaks a lot of the rules here promulgated. It would probably not do as internet copy. Neither would my worsened version. The topic requires consideration. The speech’s poetic beauty opens up a window into one conscious moment’s confrontation with the great problem of his day and his life. By sharing his whole conscious space in a way ours can relate to, Lincoln shares with us his soul’s struggle with the motions of his world.
Lincoln’s question remains our own: how can spiritual values guide a nation? how can a nation be God’s instrument on earth? We know that individuals should empty themselves of all selfishness and let the Heavenly Light flow through and overtake their every word and deed. But when we think that’s what we’re doing, we’re often lying to ourselves, and thus–since the foundation of all spiritual progress is awareness–heading in the wrong direction. With a government the dangers of self-deception are even greater, hence the separation of church and state. But there is a difference between a government indifferent to spiritual values (ie: absolute values like “No, you actually should not lie–for real, that’s how things really are no matter what we little slips of passing fancies may feel or suppose.”) and a government separating church and state. You cannot make things better without following spiritual values (no other values can even ask the question “what is truly better”, since they are not absolute values, but merely unfounded assumptions), but so much trouble is created when people act like they are following spiritual values! Because they so often aren’t actually doing that at all, but are just using the notion of spiritual correctness to turn down the awareness of themselves and their fellows.

Abraham Lincoln did what he could. We all do what we can, given who we are and where we are. Reconstruction was undone. America is a work in progress. Our only hope is always the same: raise our individual and collective awarenesses to the point that we actually believe in and follow Goodness–not the word, nor even the concept, and especially not the swelling and sweetly sickening feelings we sometimes associate with Goodness, but real Goodness, that to which the word imperfectly but not therefore necessarily meaninglessly points.

But how do you do that? Clarity, honesty, openness, kindness, anti-corruption within the individual and every group, every governmental body, every business, church, artistic collective. But how do we do that?

Strange times, troubling times, burbling, gurgling, waterspilling times.