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Passive Packing

People sometimes ask if I have a packing strategy/plan/jedi mind trick for getting ready to go away. In truth I love the end of packing - the feeling that you've essentialised yourself into a bag and that's it for the next little while - but I hate the process. It always seems stressful and full of doubt. Will that be enough undies to get you through? Can I buy obscure brand of toothpaste when I get there or should I stock up? Or worse buy a travel size which won't even get me out of the airport? So I practice passive packing. About a month or so before I go, I put out a bag in a place that isn't used (spare room, shed or Donald Trump Museum of Sensitivity) and begin to fill it. Without any real urgency. Over the next couple of weeks you just throw things in as you go - if you're getting those undies off the clothesline throw them in. Side thought on undies: pack enough to equal the days you're away plus two. The daily chore of getting the laundry in starts to

Lightening the load on text-heavy pages

Finding the right weight for your content is a balancing act. Image via pixabay . Recently, I've been working with a university who has a lot of very complex information on their website. Their content has to simultaneously speak to a range of audiences including students, prospective students, current staff and more. The problem of many audiences often makes for long pages that are hard to decipher. So how do you keep that content clear for everyone without making content too complicated? 1. Pick the perfect page length. Lots of clients want to know what’s the perfect length for a web page, which is like asking how long is a piece of string. The perfect length depends on what you want the page to do. On Medium, they define their page length by reading time, with the magic number being a 6-7 minute read (along with a lot of other recommendations for writing a successful Medium article ). As Medium puts their average reading speed at 275 words per minute, this gives y

Social media identity from scratch

By now, almost everyone seems to be on one social media platform or another. But crafting an identity for your social media presence means knowing who you are, where you need to be and what you need to say. Finding yourself on social One of the big things about defining your identity is making sure it can survive changes of personnel. “Hold up,” you say, “we’re a small organisation and I don’t have time to define my identity. We’ve got a social whiz who handles all of that.” But whizzes leave, the environment is ever-changing (Twitter doubling its character count, for example) and having a strategic base to your social strategy makes decision-making easier. Your identity should give a clarity of purpose to guide you, no matter how big you get. In the rapid response world of social media, an identity liberates your social media staff to concentrate on great content. So, to prepare your business for a strong identity and growth in accounts, ask the basics: where, why and wh

Spotlighting Microcopy

The announcement of the finalists for this year’s Walkley’s awards  may be the first recognition of microcopy by the mainstream media. In the category of Headline, Caption or Hook , The Australian newspaper’s website has been nominated for its cute 404 error pages . The pages are little gags about how politicians respond to failure, like former PM Paul Keating announcing “This is the 404 we had to have.” Then there’s George Brandis saying “ If this is going to be like explaining metadata to David Speers, kindly count me out.” Over forty randomly generated messages written in the style of flubbing politicians pop up whenever you hit a page that no longer exists. Most are penned by Strewth columnist James Jeffrey , who uses these glitches as a chance to splash a few laughs across the website. Even Donald Trump gets the chance to point out The Australian 's website bugs  Rather than just a dry 404, this playful content hits a sweet spot with readers as