Thursday, June 25, 2009

Use common "action" words

Too many news Web sites still use "journalism" terms as they try to move people around the site.

"Multimedia," for instance - when was the last time you said "let's go out and shoot some multimedia of the kids playing"? Or "video," "audio," etc. Yeah, none of those are greatly offensive or confusing, but they work against you online.

Simply put, your online site is a retail store - much of the psychology of retail applies. You want users to do something; to do that, use common action words: "read," "watch," "listen." Use labels like "photos and video" instead of multimedia. And try things like "your photos and video" and "our photos and video" to be more conversational (or even use "pictures" instead of "photos').

I've been working with a small daily S.C. paper this summer, The Item. It's started adopting this nomenclature. What do you think?

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