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Published on November 29th, 2009 | by Rahel Bailie

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Underestimating the “yes but” factor

Time is fluid, as demonstrated by a research team lead by Dr. Gitte Lindgaard and explained in a useit.com post; in the “4th dimension” of time, user experience phenomena work across many powers of 10. Ever heard a last-year event referred to as “a decade ago in Internet years”?

Be sure that visitors subject your website to the same first-impression scrutiny that they exercise in real life, only faster. It takes 0.1 second to decide whether your site is attractive, 10 seconds to decide that your site is “taking too long” to respond, and 1 minute to be fed up with a task or a video.

Explaining the importance of getting this right is critical to a development team has its problems, as people “yes but” when it comes to their territory. The marketing department may “yes but” over the whiz-bang elements that slow down the site. Interaction designers may “yes but” when asked to redo problematic area. Developers may “yes but” when asked to do over some code. The writers may “yes but” when you insist that a content strategy must precede the content development stage.

Actually, it’s not even the “yes but” that is the problem; that may just development stakeholders working through how to fix the situation. The problem is when the “yes but” is accompanied by a workaround, a justification, or a reason that serves to solve an internal problem rather than a client-facing problem. It can throw the development timeline off, affect the quality of the final product, and compromise the maintainability of the site. Because all of these factors have an effect on the Total Cost of Ownership, sometimes in serious ways, the “yes but” can be the “gotcha” that takes a project down; definitely not something I’d want to underestimate.


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About the Author

Rahel Anne Bailie is a synthesizer of content strategy, requirements analysis, information architecture, and content management to increase the ROI of content. She has consulted for clients in a range of industries, and on several continents, whose aim is to better leverage their content as business assets. Founder of Intentional Design, she is now the Chief Knowledge Officer of London-based Scroll. She is a Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication, she has worked in the content business for over two decades. She is co-author of Content Strategy: Connecting the dots between business, brand, and benefits, and co-editor of The Language of Content Strategy, and is working on her third content strategy book,



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