Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Law Firm Blawg Design Tips

Jakob Nielsen of useit.com has checked in on weblog usability. Among the many useful issues he discusses is:
2. No Author Photo -- Even weblogs that provide author bios often omit the author photo. A photo is important for two reasons:

* It offers a more personable impression of the author. You enhance your credibility by the simple fact that you're not trying to hide. Also, users relate more easily to somebody they've seen.
* It connects the virtual and physical worlds. People who've met you before will recognize your photo, and people who've read your site will recognize you when you meet in person (say, at a conference).

A huge percentage of the human brain is dedicated to remembering and recognizing faces. For many, faces work better than names. I learned this lesson myself in 1987 when I included my photo in a HyperCard stack I authored that was widely disseminated on Mac-oriented BBSs. Over the next two years, countless people came up to me and said, "I liked your stack," having recognized me from the photo.

Also, if you run a professional weblog and expect to be quoted in the press, you should follow the recommendations for using the Web for PR and include a selection of high-resolution photos that photo editors can download.
This is an excellent tip for blawgs! A lawyers image associated with more than a dry and uninspired bio is a good thing. Even if your blawg has multiple contributors (like Brandshift) it is possible to get photos on the page.

And if you have never explored Jakob's useit site... That's your (usability) loss.
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