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David Lee King

Conversation is Experience



Some web designers, especially those with a marketing or graphic design background, say they want to build an experience – but their designed experience, no matter who the website is for, tends to be designed like a movie or a rockstar’s website  – heavy on the Flash, on the intro page (complete with low-pitched ominous music), and it makes cute noises when you click on a link.

That’s great for a movie or a rockstar website. But most of us are building library, organization and company websites. What type of “experiences” should we be creating for those types of websites?

Conversation Spaces

Visitors to your website want to talk – with you, and with each other. Are you providing conversation spaces? The web is FULL of conversation now – check out Amazon, most newspaper and TV news sites, YouTube, this blog, Facebook, Twitter – all spaces where conversation can happen. And conversation DOES happen, because that’s what people do. We like to talk, we like to share, we like to voice our opinion (as I hope some of you do in the comments!).


So, my simple digital experience tip for today is this – make sure to create conversation spaces on your websites. Places like comment boxes, online forums or discussion groups around a topic, Twitter accounts for feedback, online places to Ask a Librarian, etc.

Enable Conversations

Also remember to actually enable conversations once you build the space. What’s that mean? In my library’s case, we allow unmoderated comments to fly free and easy onto our digital branch. I know what some of you are thinking – “OMG, David! Don’t you have a TON of cussing, swearing, name-calling, and other highly inappropriate things being posted? How could you EVER allow that!???!!??”

Um. No. We simply don’t have that. Yes, once in awhile we have some negative comments. But why would we moderate or not show those? Instead, we respond appropriately.

But some of you will need to moderate comments for one reason or the other (i.e., those old-fashioned city attorneys who haven’t yet discovered the joys of Facebook). If you DO moderate comments, make sure to do it quickly. Same day is good. Same hour is best. Why? Because it’s a CONVERSATION. If someone starts a conversation and you don’t get around to moderating the comment for a few days … well, you have killed the conversation. And that’s really no conversation at all.

pic by Adventures in Librarianship

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://andyburkhardt.com/ Andy Burkhardt

    Good post. Being able to interact IS part of the experience. Sharing opinions, chatting with others, or even being able to talk to someone for help is something people want in real life. We’re social creatures, so being able to communicate with each other does add significantly to the experience. You’re right that we should be thinking about these things when we build our websites or start using social media.

  • http://andyburkhardt.com Andy Burkhardt

    Good post. Being able to interact IS part of the experience. Sharing opinions, chatting with others, or even being able to talk to someone for help is something people want in real life. We’re social creatures, so being able to communicate with each other does add significantly to the experience. You’re right that we should be thinking about these things when we build our websites or start using social media.

  • http://www.estebankolsky.com/ Esteban Kolsky

    Thanks!

    Why? 2 reasons….

    1) you reinforce my view that “conversation interruptus” via comment moderation is wrong. I have not had comment moderation on my blog (although I do have Akismet for SPAM and only 2 false positives in the last 2 years) from the beginning and don’t intend to start now. To me is all part of the conversation. The odd-comment that does get sent to moderation (thanks to WP and akismet) gets dealt with usually within 20-25 minutes. I believe this is the way to keep the conversation going.

    2) you convinced me to install forusm in my blog. been debating for some time now, going back and forth, but there is no harm in creating a new conversation space. worse case? i will shut it down later if it does not work or is not used… testing is the best way to see what your community needs in the form of communication. right?

    good post!

  • http://www.estebankolsky.com Esteban Kolsky

    Thanks!

    Why? 2 reasons….

    1) you reinforce my view that “conversation interruptus” via comment moderation is wrong. I have not had comment moderation on my blog (although I do have Akismet for SPAM and only 2 false positives in the last 2 years) from the beginning and don’t intend to start now. To me is all part of the conversation. The odd-comment that does get sent to moderation (thanks to WP and akismet) gets dealt with usually within 20-25 minutes. I believe this is the way to keep the conversation going.

    2) you convinced me to install forusm in my blog. been debating for some time now, going back and forth, but there is no harm in creating a new conversation space. worse case? i will shut it down later if it does not work or is not used… testing is the best way to see what your community needs in the form of communication. right?

    good post!