A Few Words Against Drivel and Detritus

April 14, 2005

Create usable content? It doesn't sound like a difficult goal. But upon reconsideration, it is clear that the web (in particular) has become a waste of your time. The visual aspects of the internet are all distractions without quality content. And that means content that is useful and clear.

Is your website full of unclear, inconsistent, out-of-date, unrevised content? It's out of style; let's all move on together now as one happy sector.

So three cheers for web designer Keith Robinson's focus this week on content. Here's a great sample from his post today:

What Usable Content Is
* Usable content is clear and easy to understand.
* Usable content can bridge gaps: things like language barriers, disability and cultural differences.
* Usable content is meaningful.
* Usable content makes the reader feel smart.
* Usable content is goal and audience appropriate.
* It's thought-out, planned and constantly maintained.
* It's fresh, light and lively.
* It's content that is organized in a way that people understand and can get their mind around.
* It's designed to be accessible.
* It's reusable and shareable, readily available and easy to locate.
* It's straightforward, open and honest and to the point.
* It encourages feedback and is engineered for conversation.
* It's hard work, but worthy of the job.

What Usable Content Is Not

* Usable content is not clever, obtuse or misleading.
* It's not marketing drivel, or bland branding messages.
* It's not longwinded.
* It's not written at the highest possible reading level.
* It's doesn't use 'big words' unless they are needed.
* It's not legalese.
* It's not double talk.
* It's not an afterthought.
* It's not a mission statement.
* It's not an org chart.
* It's not self-centered.