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Jeff Herrington Communications
1939 Mayflower St.
Dallas, TX 75208

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Writing Samples

Bells and Whistles are OK, but Facts are Better
Published in Communication World
International Association of Business Communicators

When I taught my first web site workshops four years ago, all people wanted to talk about were Java applets, Shockwave plug-ins and other technographic gewgaws sure to make the web user go "Wow!"

If I talked about the importance strategic messages, integrated links, or – heaven forbid – the active voice, most people in attendance would nod their heads and issue a polite yet dubious look that said. "You poor, passé dweeb."

But at a presentation I gave for IABC/Vancouver two years ago, I discovered with glee that the tide was decidedly changing. My realization came when I was discussing the importance of screens forming quickly and suggested that well-designed pages are those that take no more than 20 seconds to jell. A couple of web designers in the room became agitated and argued that no web page worth its salt could meet that "narrow" standard.

Rather than support this theory, though, as had often happened at past workshops, the rest of the room began to murmur in apparent discontent. Finally, a woman said, "I disagree. As a frequent user of the web, I get frustrated waiting for these complex graphics to come up. The information on a web site is more important to me than the pictures." At that, the murmuring intensified until another young woman raised her hand and identified herself as a representative of one of the city's most prestigious design firms.

She put the matter to rest in the eyes of most of the other communicators in the room when she said, "This week, my firm's management issued a mandate that all of the web pages we design jell in nine seconds or less. It's our belief that most people who are using the web are going there for information, not entertainment.

"Today, savvy web and intranet editors fully appreciate the fact that although solid design is important to effective online communication, it's substantive content, not superficial artistry, that drives a site's success. Interest is crafting copy that helps people quickly find information, perform tasks and grasp ideas while they are online is at an all-time high.

What factors distinguish the magnificent online copy from the mundane? Here are a few approaches that those web users I listen to in places like Dallas, Darwin and Dublin say they are seeking in the area of web/intranet text...

See also:

Putting it All Together
Published for the Dallas CityDesign Studio

Taking Excellence to Higher Levels
Published in the JD Journal
Deere and Company

North American AG Center
Published in the JD Journal
Deere and Company

For more information about the editorial support we can provide, call 214.948.7954 or contact us here.