The Oos and Ohnts of Displaying Web Content

(The Mona Lisa being transported back to the Louvre after the end of WWII in 1945)

After working on FLUX. for almost 4 years and scouring the internet for web content as it pertains to artists, events, and the likes I have noticed some patterns emerge in regards to how information is displayed.

Some are for the better. Some are for the not-so-better.

I thought I would share some observations and tips from the Desk of FLUX.

(Malika Favre)

CAVEAT EMPTOR: Before we begin. I don’t claim to be an expert, baby. This info is just personal preference derived from past experience and doesn’t apply to every site.  I am posting this due in part to artists/galleries who have asked me previously about the ergonomics of their own sites. AND selfishly, I hope some current sites, or sites of the future might read over this list and give some thought as to how they intend to share information on exhibits, artist portfolios, press releases etc.

Hopefully it is helpful and mildly insightful.

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(Nadeen Cell, Dan Witz)

FACT: 30 to 60% of visitors tend to drop off and click to another site when they are forced to click their mouse more often than necessary.

FACT: People who use the internet are usually those who are always on-the-go and don’t want to spend time figuring out how to navigate any web site.

FACT: It takes all of ten seconds for most first-time visitors to spend time on any web site before deciding if it’s worth any attention.”

(via Web Marketing Now)

I would say the majority(not a verified statistic) of websites and media outlets who focus on database postings aren’t as hands-on/TLC invested as I am in the information gathering process. I dig deep. I will call, email, search for artist bios, websites, images, and do my best to fact check information before posting it in the Wrap-Up.

Writers who answer to a boss have deadlines, there are only so many hours in the day, ‘time is money’, etc. I completely understand. And from speaking with others, if information is too difficult to find or convoluted, they will simply omit the event.  I admit I have had to do this in the past and it’s a bummer. It doesn’t make me feel great to leave someone’s event or exhibition out.

(The Loop, Ooli Mos)

Therefore:

If you are posting an event, I find it best to lay information out in an easily digestible manner that clearly states the Who/What/When/Where/Why/How/Cost/Attire etc of a soiree.

A representative image(with applicable source/reference info) is ALWAYS appreciated.  If you are sharing a multimedia/video installation, provide a still.

An image that one can right click and “save as..”, not a java script screen, or a splash/pdf file/etc that I have to print screen and then resize poorly in MSPaint..also appreciated.

And, because most of the time I am “save as”-ing images and then just shooting them back into cyberspace through WordPress, so as not to steal someone else’s bandwith, it is helpful if your file name is the name of the piece and artist.  That way: 1.) The artist gets credit 2.) It’s easier for me to reference the image on my site 3.) It is just another easy way to further advertise as opposed to letting that small opportunity go to waste on “ioj3409t6206823jfro.jpg”

In terms of images and pdfs etc, I wouldn’t advise against posting the details of your exhibition solely in .pdf form or embedded within a jpeg because if I want to share information about your event, I can’t just cut and paste details- I have to re-type it. This usually leads to an abridged version full of spelling errors and sentence fragments as I zone out mid paragraph.

This logic also pertains to the address of your gallery. While its great to have the address as an image, its also helpful to have the text version of your address somewhere on the site so it is easy to copy and paste and leaves no room for mistypes. 1 Main St. might be your gallery but 11 Main Street may be a horse rendering plant. I’m just.saying.

I once read with press releases, bios, etc it is important to have all the pertinent content in the first paragraph.  This is because a.) our ADHD culture b.) People have come to expect important info to be delivered right off the bat in a concise manner c.) Media outlets(print) only have so much room to share information and often times can only include the first paragraph or don’t want to slash apart the bio to make sure it fits into a certain space.

I would avoid using all CAPS, and cRe8TiVe wAy$ oF wRi7inG.  Again, just more content that needs to be retyped.

Beware of: childish language and colloquialisms in your posts. If you want your event to be taken seriously I wouldn’t do a “YO BRA, CHECK DIZ ART OUT LATES! DOPE PIECES, DJS, AND FREE BOOZE SO YOU CAN WAKE UP NEXT TO SOMEONE YOU DON’T KNOW. CYA”  Because then I have to copy and paste that info on FLUX. Or omit it. And that makes me sad.

Fonts. Keep it together.  I wouldn’t suggest using 5 different styles, formats and colors to display information. You have no idea how screwy that all looks when I put paste the content into WordPress and have to spend time deleting <span> tags out of the dense HTML.

(found via thisisnthappiness)

A few endnotes for Art Walks/Open Studios webmasters:

  • Often times these websites are vague. Make sure artist names(website/work/type)/times/places/rain dates/maps etc. are all there. Make it idiot proof.
  • If you only provide an artist link without an image, I generally go through lists alphabetically (or occasionally “that’s a cool name!” if I’m really whoopin’ it up) so the “Anderson”s get far more link love than the “Zorbin”s unless I decide to skip around.

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That’s all for now. Hopefully I was able to provide some constructive tips or enabled you to re-confirm that the content on your website and within your mailings is already optimized.

(Bird’s Nest, Douglas Beasley)

Help me help you. As always, if there is an event or exhibition you are hoping to give some love, send me an email or just add me to your listserv, I promise it will be in good hands. ♥

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2 Responses to The Oos and Ohnts of Displaying Web Content

  1. I don’t know who you are – but I LIKE you. I am one of those non-social-networking type of artists with no patience for soggy sites. flux, however- I love. You are now on my home page. My go-to for art news.

    • fluxboston says:

      Kathleen, thank you so much for the compliment. This was shaping up to be a shit Wednesday, but your comment really turned things around :) I see your name is again listed for the Maynard Open Studios this year. Will you be there in the flesh? Was thinking about heading out that way, and would love to say hello in person. Clearly I am a fan of yours as well. Again, thank you.

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