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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Keynote Speaker Roy Tennant - Digital Commonwealth 2010

Engaging Users, by Roy Tennant

There are two different user groups who use your organization's website:

  • those with a natural affinity for your site, including those who have to use it (Tennant calls them "within shouting distance"), and
  • free floating web users
Those with the "natural affinity" find your site:
  • online, through email, facebook twitter, links and ads on allied web sites, and
  • offline, through marketing: t shirts, flyers, print, and bookmarks
Those who are "free floating" find your site through
  • links, and
  • hubs massive sites start sites (Wikipedia)
Searching Google:
70% of users get indexed in Google

  • Get linked on Wikipedia, or
  • put photos on Flickr
The Library of Congress put their photographs on Flickr
Created amazing statistics and exposure
Since Flickr is one of the top 50 viewed websites, and the Library of Congress is one of the top 6,000 websites, they increased their visibility exponentially.

On Flickr, users can comment to add information they have to existing image, and they can link to other people who have additional information.

Can you find your site on Google?
Include a site map on your website.
Expose your URLs to Google crawler so that it can be read.

The hidden web: all a site map is is an index to your page - it is a stupid list containing all of the URLs on your page. If you expose this list, your visibility increases.

Use Google Webmaster Tools!

Google doesn't crawl everything. You have to manually create code to get your page seen.

This code, stored on the text file, robots.txt, blocks all of the links that Google crawls.

User-agent: *
Disallow: /

Tennant suggests creating as liberal a code as possible, so that Google will giveit the most visibility. He suggests the code in the robots.txt file

User-agent: *
Allow: /

Tennant also suggests registering your sitemap with Google, and to read Google's Search Engine Optimization (SEO) document. It is not important only to create something great, but also to push stuff out. Get links to your website where are your users found.


Tennant turns now, from getting users to your sites, to engaging users.

You might have several audiences. What turns them on? What gets them excited? You need to change your site in order to meet the needs of your users.

"Rinse and Repeat." This is not only a one-time operation. You need to re-evaluate over and over again. Use the 5 Ws to ask about how to engage your user: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How.

Use interactive tools to engage users:

tagging: LibraryThing uses tagging as a crowdsource method of cataloging. Other interactive devices include: commenting, listing, rating, and reviewing.

Use all of these on a digital collection. Allow users to tag digital images interaction and other ways of finding objects. Use crowdsourcing. Allow audience to correct images created using Optical character recognition, (OCR). Think of incentives that are easy, fun, and fast.
Avoid passwords. They create a barrier to otherwise interested users. Who wants to remember another password?

be there

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