Tuesday, May 22, 2007

click through, not just view

Today, a bright and cheerful day in May, an easy lesson. With a rhyming tagline to help memorability.

Try clicking on tagline. In the sentence above. You "go through" it to a destination page, my article published in BusinessWeek Blogspotting.

Why? Because many readers may be interested in "tagline" in general, and might appreciate a one click route to a good treatment of the topic. Self promotional? Sure. Helpful to users? Probably.

In thinking about the linked web we use for business communications and collaborations, a conclusion: interactivity is the new black.

For example, a TV presents a non-internetworked lo-interact passive experience of focused attention on auto-shifting visual/audio content. This kind of non-collaborative on/off/channel minimalism will not work on the web.

Twittervision is a site that displays messages from the global user-base of the Twitter asynchronous chat/status updater/personal digital-presencing streams.

As of this writing, however, Twittervision does not enable users to "freeze" a message, then either save it as a link in an archive, or click through to the source page of the message, to the person who sent it.

Any attempt to click on the name of the person, in the tweet bubble, generates the error message:

We're sorry, but something went wrong.

We've been notified about this issue and we'll take a look at it shortly.

Visitors to web sites generally, in most cases, want to "Click through, not just view."

Don't be afraid to enable visitors to leave your site for deeper or different viewpoints. The myth of the "sticky site" that people "hang out at" has been debunked.

Give people this reason, in addition to your rich and frequent updates, to return to your site: you link to all the right sources. And you keep researching and adding more timely links to your site.

Web users don't want to get bogged down in one site and one point of view. They tend to seek a variety of angles and perspectives, to better understand the big picture, while focusing on specifics they need for work or personal pursuits, including mild curiosity.


Instead of just listing products, make each product name a link that goes to a page devoted to the product. Make sure that page says enough, but not too much. Give customers all the information, specifications, comparisons, features, benefits, suggested uses, and images they need to make a wise purchase decision.

Look at the lists in your web site. Chances are, each item could, or should, link to a page with more and deeper information, and contains links to external information sources at other reputable sites.

Either provide more of your own content for deeper seekers, or display some credited and linked quotes, and a linked list of recommended resources. You look like an expert, when you know who the other experts are.

Linking is what sets the web apart from traditional publishing and communication systems.

Linking is what your customers will expect from you, more and more, wanting you to be their guide to a niche in the vast, expanding, and puzzling internet.

Enriching your content with links will added value and memorability for your own site. Users tend to bookmark sites that act as portals or hubs, a good starting point for further explorations in various directions.

One of the best, most valuable forms of web content is links derived from your personal explorations, which you then pass on to your readers and customers. This is a fundamental principle in Altruistic Design.

Just remember this simple single phrase: "Click through, not just view."


rod said...

Hey Steve - good call on clicking through - the role of a blogger is to add value to a conversation my making a contribution to it - not to try and own that conversation by becoming a terminal point for it. Well put!

steven edward streight said...

Hello Rod. I'm meeting a whole new group of technical geniuses via Twitter and Jaiku.

You, Rod, hit the correct nail squarely on the head, a point I neglected to examine:

CEOs are slow to blog because they still, some of them anyway, think they and their company must "own" the "space" of communication about "their" industry, and especially their product line or service specialties.

Am reading the AMACOM book "Coolhunting" and it starts by discussing how to Gain Power By Giving Power Away.

By empowering users, and letting them control or guide the conversation about you, your company, your products, you actually speed up the purchase process.

Listening to honest, blunt, harsh critique is the fast lane to innovation and market leadership.

rod said...

True what you say about critques - too bad they're so hard for so many to take!

Twitter and Jaiku - I haven't joined yet. Then again, I'm not on Facebook, LinkedIn, Friendster, or MySpace either, so meh. We'll see, though comments like yours make me think I should get down off my ivory tower already...