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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 – 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 – 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.


IDF – Web Communication Course – Answer 4

IDF – Web Communication Course – Answer 4

Today the Interactive Design Foundation said:

“Consider your current website.
What can you do to increase consumer trust?
What can you do to increase consumer familiarity?
What can you to to construct a sense of presence?”

To which BW & AW replied:

I. Increasing Consumer Trust:

We should definitely offer the book with a money-back offer, and also a soliloquy promising to not hold it against you if you return the book, a soliloquy that should make clear that we ourselves have misgivings about the book, and that if you don’t like this one, we hope you’ll still like the next one, since it has to be better than this one–if it isn’t, we just don’t know how we’ll get by!

II. Increasing Consumer Familiarity:

No one’s heard of us. If there’s lots to do on the site that is free and worthwhile, people will goof around with us awhile and then start to know our ways and so we’ll become familiar to them. Unfortunately, the site has only madcap to offer. Maybe if we made a Pure Love Certificate you could download for free. Why? It would demonstrate that, all kidding aside, insofar as it is within our power, we are happy to give away all the Pure Love we have. And it could be short and sweet, unlike so much of our literary attempts. In the same vein, we need to pay a lot of attention to introducing the writings: it should be very easy to find writings that most people will find engaging and avoid the ones most people will consider overly long-winded.

III. Increasing Presence

Let’s make some skits! We wrote some ads for products. Let’s film them and embed them or link to them. This will also enhance familiarity. However, by seeing our movements, the way we hold our bodies, and the attitudes of our facial contortions, customers will perceive that we are bits of string slowly unfurling and fraying, which will decrease their trust in us. Perhaps if we hired actors.

IV. But shouldn’t we be helping consumers see what a scam advertising/presentation is?

Definitely. We need some way to point out that neither Amazon nor Wandering Albatross Press is really their friend. We at Wandering Albatross Press would like to run our business in a way that is good for everyone, but we are still selling something. Everyone thinks that they are OK and blah blah blah; but who among us even truly wants to do what’s best for everyone, let alone knows how to and does it? I know! We’ll issue a certificate of our official heartfelt apology for only kind of meaning to be truly kind–as another free download.