YWAMKnowledgeBase:Research Mainpage 2012
At this moment I am doing some observations on the YWAM KB and the Wikipedia website. It is not meant to compare both website too much, in that we will have to copy all that the other website does. No, it is more meant to use as a reflection of what is good and what could be improved or changed.
In this experiment I am myself the guinea pig. This might be a bit bias, but on the other hand to ask someone else to do it takes more time and the observations are most likely very different. Although it wouldn't be bad to do that sometimes. And I think it will happen in the future more anyway. Knowing that I am not perfect and won't make the same observations as someone else.
So for this experiment I do step into the mindset of a potential first time viewer. And most likely also in the shoes of a more frequent visitor. Plus the shoes of an editor. So to make things a bit more clear I will use some symbols to make clear who shoes I am wearing. The color blue is for editor, color red for first time visitor and the color green for frequent visitor.
Starting with opening both the KB main page and the Wikipedia homepage. In this case I opened the Dutch version of Wikipedia. I didn't do that on purpose, but it does help me as a Dutchman to compare what I would expect in my mindset. So that shows that potential guinea pigs can have a different cultural background in their approach of the KB.
1a. What first stand out on Wiki and the KB are the things that grab my eyes first. The biggest text that I see is what I look at. There is tons of text on both pages, but these will be the first which I will read. On Wiki it is the words Welcome and Wikipedia. For the KB it is the bold sentence: What do you want to know about? And Start here! Second would come Welcome to the YWAM's Knowledge Base and the title of the website with the blue wave. On Wiki the title of the website would also come second.
1b. Now I switch shoes. Coming more often to these websites our eyes start exploring more. So what do I see on Wiki? Or actually what do I want to know? What are my interests and where do I start looking? I am more familiar with the idea of Wikipedia and know after clicking on the welcome or the Wikipedia link that I saw first that this is an online encyclopedia. So now I will explore and find out anything that is on my mind or just browse around for interesting information. First thing I do is look for new things! Where are they? I highlight them using different color. At the same time doing the KB as well. So what did I highlight? For Wiki I highlighted the first article which is accompanied by a picture and the text uitgelicht. The subject might not directly interest me, but I see it and it could spark my interest. Secondly would come the advert, which is cleverly placed in mid view. Hard to miss that one. It changes so that's what I would see directly. I can perfectly ignore what it says, but my eyes were caught anyway.
For the KB it is a different thing. What would grab my eyes there. Two things. The bold letters of What do you want to know about? And Start here! are the ones that drag me in. Although as a frequent visitor I see there are no changes made, except if I have been away for a while. The video did change recently, but the What do you want to know didn't for ages.
1c. Time for editing! What does the editor see? Right now I can just wear my own sandals and look through my own eyes at the text. What do I see first as a Wiki editor? I am familiar with use of the website. I change things now and then. What am I looking for on the main page? Well, I am still a consumer, so I am not getting into the itty gritty of the details. I just change what I think needs change. Like spelling errors. But on the main page I will not find any. This piece is worked out perfectly by the head editors of Wiki. So what do I look at? Well, it is very simple. I am looking at all my editing stuff. So.. am I logged in? Well, not at the moment. So I better get logged in to do my work. But I normally only do that when I see a mistake of some sort and I want to put my name with the correction I making. Secondly I will need to use all the buttons and links on the top and the sides. Another important things for an editor is the score of the website. Somehow we love to know how the website is doing by a set of numbers. In this case the page numbers. The Dutch has 1 million+ pages. That is impressive.
What about the KB? I would have the same mindset. Where are my tools? Am I logged in? Statistics? So that is about the same as a Wiki editor. Both will also look at what has changed on the page. New stuff makes everyone excited, especially if you have a passion for working with wiki's. That's also why the recent changes button is so popular. I check it all the time!
2a. What is the first time visitor going to do after the first impression on the main page? Stick around or run away immediately in fear and panic? Is the page dull? Or does it apply to me? Does it look exciting to me? Is it kindling my interests? It is true that not everyone will be hooked to our sites. If you have no interest in YWAM, no way you are going to stay unless something else is interesting to you. Same for encyclopedias.. They used to be thick series of books, now it is pages upon pages of information on a multicultural website. So let me put on the high heels, rubber boots, sneakers, etc of our visiting audience and see what would be the next thing they would spot when sticking around for a bit more.
Scroll down! That is exactly the direction we are moving. A webpage normally only shows the upper part of the page. Like starting at the face, looking now down and the complete person in front of you. Now we are going to look at the entire body. Which is something that you are also able to see in the pictures that I am using: the whole body! Which looks a bit different when all pieces are stuck together. Which is also exactly what I did to create the image. Now both pages look more like the first page of a newspaper. With columns, pictures, etc.. Oh, and with a title on top. The paper we are selling!
Back to our audience. They have seen the heading of the newspaper and now start exploring the rest on the page. What other news can I find here? Starting with Wiki. First things that stand out are the pictures. All first time people look for the easy things to digest, which are the looks and images that jump at you. And Wikipedia has many. I highlighted them all. Amazing! Most of them are simple, but fitting with the subjects they are pointing too. Maybe now, the first timer will actually read something and click on the tons of links.
So now the KB. First timer scrolls down. What is standing out most? Yes, the video! Next the graph, with best pages, but it looks a bit confusing. After that all other visuals follow. But clear.. not really. And they are at the bottom. To share this page is not really important, is it? Or start the tour arrow. I thought I saw a link to start here further up?
Oh, but there are some more visuals! In the middle of the page, little blocks in colors. The ones with the questions. Might be interesting? Or maybe not? Actually I would say it looks confusing. And what are these bones doing here? Are these dog cookies? Oh, now I see. It is a screw thingy. So that means work in process or something. Is this page not done yet? Boring, I leave!
2b. No mercy from first timers. What about the ones who do return? What would be their next impressions when they are scrolling down? Back to Wiki. Well, what am I focusing on as a consumer. Well, what do you think? The MEAL! Of course, the middle section has all that I need. Bread, Pasta, Wine, Cheese and a delicious Dessert. Okay, I might exaggerate a little. But I point out that the meal is served here in the middle section, with the picture of the day as a dessert.
Back to the KB. What is served here? Does it serve my appetite as a YWAMer? Yes, there is food on the table. And what is served. First a dessert? Well, it says start here, so the dessert must be the appetizer. And after that? Aye, raw beans. Raw potatoes! How can I eat that? The question marks are like mayonnaise on top of it. Where is the meat? Or why is it not peeled and cooked? Okay, ignore my creative writing in digesting websites. Maybe I should eat something and not think in food pictures. What I try to say is that the video is like the dessert. Very appealing, but also pulling all attention to it. Which can be good for the reason that it says start here. But is unfortunately also the only appealing thing. The raw beans and potatoes are the things surrounding the video. Only when you start reading it, you will see what is about. But it is not finished, raw. Not appealing. What it needs? It needs to be more appealing. With uncooked I mean that it needs to be thought through. It isn't. Okay, the idea for having questions posted is okay. But do they appeal to our audience? Wouldn't it be better to serve some real dishes instead. With that I would suggest coming with finished articles which have the inviting appeal to eat more. That. That will need some writing skill!
2c. Talking about writing. Editors and writers. Next perspective on the whole page. Now we are talking about ourselves again. We are the editors and writers. Both for Wiki and the KB. Looking jealously at Wiki? Well, I will do this for the last time. So don't worry. There are no plans to make the KB into a Wikipedia. Only matter of learning. And yes, learning hurts sometimes. Remember what Jesus said about pruning the vines? Well, that is what we are doing. Looking critical at ourselves. Look at the mirror and see the mud in our face and scrubbing it off! Haha.
Wiki is offering this to its editors: Cushions. All these cushions are laid on the sides of the website. Most of them are put on top. But that is because these are the softest and the biggest. The other are just cushions for the feet. So what they are: The labels on top of the page for editing, history and discussion. On the side the tools of all editors, all the links they are interested in. And the bottom ones are about when the page was updated last and the official press. Impressive? Yes, and relaxing!
Is the KB giving any comfort that could match Wiki? Let's see.. I hope you can get the expression on my face. One eyebrow up, the other down.. There are some pillows. The side bar does have some. But they are not so convertible. It misses the softness, due to the mixed feathers in them. There is editor filling, but also filling for first time visitors and regular visitors. Why? I don't know.. Well, any other cushions? Yes, on huge one at the bottom. This is where I can create an article. Huge, but still I missed this pillow. It has been laying too long there at the bottom. Can't be good. And where are the pillows for my head? Well.. I found them, but they are not fitting to put your head on. They are all scattered around the page. I hope you know what I mean. The editors buttons! The question mark boxes are the place I found them on Wikipedia. But the ones of the KB are lost. Literarily!
Well, that's it for now. I hope you enjoyed my creative writing and the research I have tried to do for our main page. I know that we can certainly make some amazing improvements. And uh.. not just dream about them, but put ourselves into action to change the covers of this bed. Or to just cook a better meal. We will succeed! And let's have some fun! I certainly enjoyed it. No problem in butchering our own website. A bit of blood in the game is good. Let's fight gentlemen.. and don't be gentle. Blessings to you!