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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 – Effective Web Communication – #7

IDF – Effective Web Communication – #7

This time the Interactive Design Foundation wanted to know if we thought our site’s main page was properly ordered, by which they meant: most important stuff always first; important stuff also at the finale.

The boys didn’t seem interested in arguing about this one. In fact, they mostly acted like they took the question seriously. I don’t think they did. I think they just didn’t care to think much about it, because they did not notice any moral red flags, and they were sleepy in body, mind and heart.​

I think we’re OK for primacy and regency in the overall structure of the landing page of

First is the book. Right now it’s the main thing BW & AW have to offer.

Second comes the newsletter sign up. I think that’s important since we can send them info about new products as they arise, supposing they do arise, which they might.

Then a synopsis of everything covered on the page.

Then more info on the book and another link to it (again, the main thing so far); followed by a quick contemplation of the animating premise of novelty gift items with image-links to the WAP novelty store (since we’re trying to make WAP into a place where we make money both with literary endeavors and with little embodied charm); followed by an advertisement for Pure Love / critique of advertising / tip jar (we are very interested in raising human consciousness to heights so great that advertisers lose their hold on us all, although this site’s main idea is to be an advertisement for our own products); followed by a link to the page organizing all the poems, essays, freewrites and etc that the site’s author’s posted over the last several years of lonely larking (this is just for people who really want to hang out with the WAP crew all day long!–that eager super-minority will happily wait for their bugle until the page’s end). After your impassioned speech on the importance of recency, we again listed the links we’d introduced throughout the page.

The paragraphs are often only a sentence long, so we often don’t need to worry about whether or not the first sentence in the paragraph is the most important. But let’s look at two longer ones:
A description of the ebook: OK. First we list the primary content, then the secondary content, then we mention the relevant but not super important fact that the stories were written years ago now.
A discussion of the novelty gift items. The paragraph itself does not put the most important info (we’re selling novelty items; these are what they are; get them here) first, so we added (!Novelty Gift Items!) to the heading of the section so people would not get confused by our decision to launch first into flim flammery and then into a mini-essay about the raison d’etre of novelty gift items–at least as we mean to wield them.

This site is to some degree a literary endeavor, so we don’t need to split our heads over questions like whether or not each sentence starts with the main idea. Such concerns make sense when your audience has no interest in literary flourishes, but of course if you’re in no mood for literary flourishes, you’re in no mood for Wandering Albatross Press.


IDF – Effective Web Communication – Number 6

IDF – Effective Web Communication – Number 6

The Interactive Design Foundation asked us to review how well the front page of our website adhered to basic copywriting guidelines. Those guidelines are in bold, our answers follow.

Level of formality for your audience

Our audience is lost. Their hearts are broken. And yet a sweet shattered kind chuckle’s been building and building at the back of their mind/heart/bodies for ages now, comforting them, lifting them up, making joy possible–inevitable even. Picture them as seawrecked skeletons scattered across a dusty seafloor when bright white rays poke at them through the crinkling dome of the light-filled tropical waters. You must picture Sisyphus happy. How could they complain about the style of this webpage? It is not actually glib. It’s just kind of silly, and all through it rings the melancholy and persevering

Vocabulary appropriateness for your audience

Our audience longs to grow spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually. They will appreciate the poetic uses of language. There are a few tougher vocabulary words, but not so many as seriously hamper one’s understanding of the overall piece. Also, it is very easy to look up a word when you’re already on the internet!​

Sentence complexity appropriateness for your audience

Covered above​

Appropriate chunking to break up cognitive demands

OK. Take, for example, the section on the Corporeal Product Line. A mix of short and long sentences that introduce the products, explain the logic behind paying more for novelty-product versions of totes and baby onesies​, and punch up the mini-essay with fun, silly, but still basically on-topic exclamations.

Sentence type variation to retain interest

OK. See above: chunking and sentence type variation go hand in hand.​

Use of be verbs (and passive constructions, which use be verbs)

We tired. For example, in the “Diary of An Adament Seducer”​ section, we changed, “A project that was once begun and then” to ” A project begu​n and then”. In fact, in several instances we used that trick: Make the sentence into a list-item style to eliminate the grammar necessary to have it be a complete sentence in the traditional sense.

On the other hand, we left (beginning of text) “… during the six years he was supposed to be staying on task.​” because it the round about grammatical excess helps to paint the picture of a person not staying on task.

Use of filler words

Again we tried. For example, “And also a few stories of the mythic origins of Wandering Albatross Press​” became​ “And also a few stories describing WAP’s mythic origins.​” Honestly, we’re not sure we should keep that change. We’d originally wanted “living” instead of “describing”, but then that seemed too confusing, and now you’ve got us worried about being confusing. But now we’re stuck with a boring verb like “describing” and are concerned that it doesn’t jive with the flow of the page

Important information first

Yes. The book is for sale and here’s a link. Then a quick overview of all the items we will introduce on the page. And also those items are arranged in descending order of importance.​


We sacrificed some conciseness to frolic. It’s a balance. You don’t want to bog people down; but you do want to frolic with them.​

Length of webpage

OK, I think. Again, it could be shorter, but then we’d have less frolic.

To tell you the truth

We are trying to be ourselves without being off-putting. It’s not a terrible idea for a project like this. It is not likely to succeed in any big way, but insofar as it does succeed, it will be because people correctly recognize that we’re creating art that interests them. If I am a business that sells computers or some other serious product, then I want people to correctly recognize that my computers are affordable, capable, and reliable. I avoid the silliness and round-abouts. If I am selling soda, then I am a con artist, since there is no value in soda except the illusionary storylines that come with it and the thrill of swilling sugar–a thrill that is only natural in children aged four to ten. If, then, I am a fraudster, it behooves me to match my lingo to the lingo of my audience; however, it behooves the rest of us to teach ourselves and others how to spot such manipulative profiteering.


IDF – Interactive Web Communication – Question 6

IDF – Interactive Web Communication – Question 6

Today the Interactive Design Foundation asked: What publications circulate among your target demographic? Do a search, and make a list of relevant publications. They also wanted us to analyze such texts for word-length, vocab and etc. Earlier in the lesson, they’d suggested googling “values of” xyz cultural subgroup.

BW & AW could not get on board with that way of thinking about design:

Our target audience is not a demographic, but an aspect of each human being: the best part: the Light within!​ So hah! We’re not going to go find texts of xyz subculture so we can parrot it back to them to create the illusion that we are in their club. We don’t approve of all this clubbiness!!!!! We will not google “the values of xyz race, income level, and age” We will google “value of people who live for kindness”, understand that that is the true aspiration of all human beings, and fasten on this (​) article’s quote from P Fierrucci, who tried to break kindness down into parts: empathy, modest, patience, generosity, respect, loyalty, gratitude. And for books, we will google “loving kindness literature” Here’s something:

We don’t need to deconstruct the language of anyone’s writings. We humans don’t want to be the little sing-song huddle-up-under-the-myths nonsense our groups say we are. Don’t steal my styles and prejudices to win me with flattery and regurgitated group-think! Write clear and calm and let me in to the space where we admit that we’re all in this together. The question is not how to make designs that trick people into thinking they’re among “friends” (ie: people who share their prejudices about how people should think, act, speak, dress, and otherwise carry on), but how to make a user experience that invites both designer and user into the kind of space created by a loving-kindness meditation. Now how do we do that? How long the sentence? How quick the cadence? Light sparkles off shifting waters quick and lively; but it also echoes slow and calm through openings in the forest canopy. So the answer’s not in the cadence. Vocabulary? Shakespeare caught the light, but so do the little kindnesses of some no-account’s day to day. No, vocabulary is not the answer. Everyone longs for the same thing: true joy. Our copy must sparkle with God’s laughter: that is the copy that gives people not the trite boring stories they think they need to hear in order to feel safe/important/bloated, but the path that deep inside we all recognize, believe in, and are grateful for–the path that nourishes us in empathy, modesty, patience, generosity, respect, loyalty, gratitude, kindness, shared joy. But how do we write this copy? The one that gives people not what their shallows suppose they are and which sycophants manipulate in order to keep them in the shallows, but what their depths know is what they really are. How to write the copy of life overflowing?

What is the list of things to make sure we do for our website’s copy?
It should be pleasant, encouraging, open-hearted/-minded
It should be honest: gentle with ourselves and others, but also relentlessly accurate
It should listen patiently and empathetically to the user and to the world. Empathy is not about pretending you are in the same club as someone one. It is about living in the knowledge that everyone is in the same club. But what is the copy that lives in that knowledge? How does one write kindly? You just take it easy. Take it easy on everybody. Have fun together. Let everyone in. Exclude no one. Hurt nothing. Kindness is a spiritual good, and as such it is beyond definition. On the other hand, we can use concepts to point towards it–meaningfully, though not definitively/literally. And so sketches like the one we found: empathy, modesty, patience, generosity, etc can be good rules of thumbs. But how do you write in a way that is empathetic, modest, patient, generous, respectful, loyal-to-the-Light-within-and-through-each-human, grateful? Keep trying?

Line of questioning from IDF
Disapproval at the assumptions behind the questions and hand-wringing over the question of how one could actually escape those assumptions and write a truly blessed copy: BW & AW

IDF – Web Communication Course – Answer 5

IDF – Web Communication Course – Answer 5

AMW and BW take a stab at a couple questions from the Interactive Design Foundation, in their dogged attempt to become people who notice design.​

Is creating a sense of presence in our best interest?

Yes, but not through piles of media, which, while increasing a user’s motivation to engage with you, decrease a user’s ability to process what you are saying. Instead, our landing page will be prose that admits who we are and that we don’t understand the loneliness, though it dogs us so. And from there, the various experiences will be linked to easily. There will be some rich media content: for example, an ad that shows how the rich media increases motivation while simultaneously decreasing your ability to process information, thus pricking your vague longing’s never-ending gimmegimmegimme while simultaneously diminishing your ability to notice that the vague longing will never be satisfied by some specific “good” and that if the ad suggests to you that by going down their rabbit hole, you will indeed find that salvation that the back of your thought screams for, then that ad is scamming you. The anti-ad will work like this: rich nonsensical content of the sort you see everywhere, that, upon a click-over breaks into a succinct prose description of the evil within such media maneuvers.

What type of media would best server our audience?

Again, clear prose upfront, and some of what we link to should be rich content (anti-ads, skits, etc). Some of what we link to should also be clearly organized accessible literary larks, and we also need a confessional page where we outline what we are attempting to do as a business and where we are falling short. This combination should increase trust by being upfront and clear (all links must of course be tidy, and the book comes with a money-back offer, which upon refund comes with a sincere apology that we wasted your time, but you see, we thought we had to start somewhere, and it took us so long to come up with this book that it seemed a shame to throw it out, and it seemed to us like at least some people would enjoy it enough to bother with it), while also giving users the opportunity to become more familiar with us by checking out all the charming singsongs we’ve heaved up into the inforealm.