Why do robots need readability? Because a person who thinks a robot is frozen will intervene (resetting it, physically moving it, opening the door for the robot) when nothing is really wrong. Someone who realizes that the robot is simply scanning a strange door to understand what to do next will leave it alone.
So what does this have to do with marketing? More than you might think.
We talk a lot about transparency, by which we mean that we should be more forthcoming about what is going on inside our companies. And that is a very good thing, but I want to think about a related concept.
I want us to start thinking about readability, so that people will leave us alone when nothing is wrong. For example, suppose a prominent blogger reports a serious problem with your product. Instead of scrambling the jets to figure out immediately whether the blogger is right and figure out how to respond, immediately respond.
Not sure what to say? If you don't know what is going on, how can you respond? Just say something! Say that this sounds terrible and that you'll get to the bottom of it. That way, everyone can see that you are scanning the unfamiliar door and figuring out what to do. That's readability.
Now, when you find out what is happening, you can tell everyone the truth, which is transparency. But readability comes first. Make sure that you aren't a "black box" to the outside world. If you let people know what you are thinking, they'll cut you more slack then if you don't.
Originally published on Biznology
Mike is an expert in search marketing, search technology, social media, publishing, text analytics, and web metrics, who regularly makes speaking appearances.
Mike's previous appearances include ClickZ Live, RKG Summit, Ticket Summit, Webdagene, the CiTE conference, and the Forrester Marketing Conference.
Mike also founded and writes for Biznology, is the co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc., and sole author of Do It Wrong Quickly, named by the Miami Herald as one of the 11 best business books of 2007.
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