Audience Dialogue

Our internet services

Our internet services specialize in helping to evaluate and improve web sites, for any kind of organisation including those involved with the media, arts, and communication.

We evaluate the usability and effectiveness of web sites.
We advise on Internet marketing plans
We organize and facilitate internet planning workshops
Based on the results, we advise on how to improve the sites.
We even build the occasional website - to keep our skills up to date, to know what's possible, and because creative work is always an enjoyable challenge. But our preference is to teach you to update your own site, so that you don't have depend on anybody else to make minor updates for you.

The other pages on this section of our site provide what we hope is useful information for organizations that want to set up a web site - or to make their existing site work better.

How to get a website - a non-technical beginner's guide
Some of the possibilities for web sites - different types of content they can have, and how this suits various types of business.
The secrets of web site effectiveness: why some sites are visited often and acted on, while others are ignored.
Our jargon-cracker - a guide to some of the Internet jargon you keep hearing, but maybe weren't sure exactly what it meant.
Publicity: letting the world know about your web site.
What is a business model?
Some background about us at Audience Dialogue.

What we do

Simply: we help organizations create effective web sites.

We specialize in small to medium sites, specially those with interactive components. We are not primarily computer programmers or graphic designers - though we do a little of that type of work, mainly to keep our skills up to date and to know what's possible.

We help you plan the scope and purpose of your web site. This often involves workshopping sessions with an organization's staff, specially those whose jobs involve communication.

If you want to create your own web site, we train you in the techniques involved.

We evaluate the effectiveness and usability of web sites, and produce detailed recommendations on how to improve them.

We deal with IT specialists on your behalf. If we were in the building trade, we'd be architects: dealing with builders and subcontractors for our clients. Our product is not buildings, though, but communications tools.

Website planning

When we are commissioned to help an organization build a web site (or rebuild an existing one), we like to begin with a planning process.

Creating a website seems a simple enough decision - aren't all companies doing it these days? -Yet it can have huge ramifications for an organization, sometimes requiring a complete rethink of the way it goes about its business.

That's why we like to do planning workshops, loosely based on the ZOPP approach developed by the German aid agency, GTZ. (ZOPP is a German abbreviation for Goal-Oriented Project Planning.) Usually these workshops involve 5 to 10 key staff, and run for two half-day sessions, separated by time for thinking. We demonstrate what's possible (e.g. looking at competitors' web sites), help you decide the goals of your web site, and how it might reach them. The results of these sessions can include:

Getting a web site can have a major effect on communications within the organization, and with its customers or clients. What was formerly done by mail can often now be done with email, and unforeseen cost savings can be made in a number of areas.

 

Website training

 

 

A different kind of approach (that makes it easier for users, but can add complexity for administrators) is to set up a Content Management System, or CMS.If your website has a number of users, and you have lost changes because sometimes it wasn't clear who should do what, perhaps you need a content management system. See our introduction to content management systems.

Website evaluation

When a web site has been up for a few months, and users have had time to try it out, it's time to do a site evaluation. This involves finding some real users and target users, persuading them to co-operate, and having them come to a site development workshop. At these workshops, which usually last for several hours, participants sit down at computers and work through the site, answering questions about it. These answers are then matched up with your objectives for the site. Very often, evaluations will reveal that users can't find what they're looking for on the site, specially if it's a large one. See this page on website evaluation to get an idea of how we go about the process - more broadly than a standard usability test.

For a small site (less than about 20 pages) it's usually not worthwhile doing one of these evaluations. The commonest problem with small sites is a lack of visitors - and a detailed evaluation won't fix that. Instead, we can do an effectiveness audit - checking your site against the basic principles of effectiveness.

For larger sites, say 100 or more pages, the cost of evaluation is a small fraction of the cost of setting up the site, and the findings are often very instructive. For example, we did some evaluations for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (one of Australia's largest web sites, with over 70,000 pages). Our work helped to produce significant improvements to the user interface.