Content Consumers: The Head Game

14 April, 2011

web content

pop-art-woman-illustrationInteresting tid-bit I stumbled on early this morning in Seth Godin’s book, Poke the Box. It has me wondering this:

Can we dive dreamily into our site/content consumers enough to have a deep knowledge of “where they are” between the pages? Sounds odd, I know and a little out of body-ish. But here’s this bit in Godin’s book totally and completely unrelated to the web…or IS it?

The Space Between the Frames

The secret of the comics isn’t what you see in each frame. It’s the little gutter, the space between the frames….

One thing that most comic artists avoid is showing decisions. They show action, sure, they show results, but they don’t show (because it’s difficult to show) the hero or the villian making a choice. (Godin, Poke the Box, p. 62)

I’m wondering: isn’t this similar to what we do when we create a few webpages with a couple of important calls to action?

We “draw” a window that we dress with frames and some other decor and of course some words. Then we “draw” another window. Between window 1 and window 2 our hero/heroine makes an internal decision. In the comic strips that netherworld of the “gutter” is clear cut– we SEE it loud and clear. It’s not so apparent in the digital online where one window quickly – in nanoseconds- is transposed to another. We lose that ….sense…. of……..where gut instincts kick in and content consumers quickly make decisions.

Unlike a webpage, we can see the story unfold in a comic strip windowpane. We may not have tuned in from day 1, but even if we ducked in on the fly, we could likely get a sense of something that’s going on. And that’s key: there is something happening in front of our eyes. We are missing this visual depiction in creating webpages for consumers. But one simple fix is to develop content/customer personas…literally characters that people your site.

Common are terms like customer demographic, traffic volume, clicks, geographic location, unique vs. repeat visitors, survey results. But less common are deeper dives into these data streams where we can begin to identify the shadowy silhouettes of the real users. Dig even deeper into your brain matter and you may imagine a crop of “stories” moving your customers and visitors from page to page, decision to decision. Why don’t we do this more often…get into our customers’ heads? It takes quiet time and diligence and plunging below the surface–not a place we are wholly comfortable going.

Honor “the gutter.”

~extra info:

Seth Godin, Poke the Box

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