Re: WWW discussion (long vs short)

Subject: Re: WWW discussion (long vs short)
From: Kris Olberg <KJOlberg -at- AOL -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 27 Oct 1995 15:18:12 -0400

In a message dated 95-10-27 07:16:59 EDT, w -dot- schoo -at- NOLDUS -dot- NL (Wineke Schoo)

>As a young company we are planning to get ourselves a site at the
>World Wide Web. But after a restricted, internal investigation we
>found out that many of our collegues think differently about the
>realization of it, in particular about the length of the various

You didn't say what your company sells or produces, so I am going to assume
that the purpose of the Web page is to enhance or facilitate sales.

IMHO, the shorter the better. You need to engage your audience quickly.
Anyone required to read long texts will surely tune out quickly. And how can
you be assured that anyone is going to press the print key?

There is an excellent article in Internet World's May '95 issue titled, "A
New Pitch: Advertising on the World-Wide Web Is a Whole New Ball Game." The
article talks about two key attributes for advertising on the web: control
and dynamic addressability. Web readers have the control, so appeal and
relevance are of utmost importance. If your page does not appeal to them
(lots of text is a big turnoff) or is not relevant, they simply "link out,"
which is the Web equivalent of turning the channel. Dynamic addressability
refers to delivering a pitch to the consumers most likely to buy. For
example, direct mail effectively uses dynamic addressability to target
specific consumers, where television cannot make use of its benefits.
(Dynamic addressability does not necessarily have a bearing on your
short-long text issue.)

There are other issues that bear on what your site contains. They go way
beyond a discussion of short v. long text and focus on interactivity with the
consumer. Consider the following example: You are creating a page for a
travel agency. Would it be better to write long, juicy descriptions of hot
nights in exotic places, or should you include a link to a video/audio clip
of a beautiful beach sunset scene showing two silhouettes playing in the
water? Another interactivity issue: 'Net users are accustomed to interacting
with the medium. Would it be better to just transfer your material into an
online form, or should you create an place where users can interact via
e-mail, have contests for best contributions, etc.?

Start small. Use captivating graphics, sound, and text. Allow room for
growth. And don't stop perfecting your Web site.

Good luck...Kris

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