That's where the 5 Rules Of Net Engagement come into play. These
are the rules for enabling the five experiences that I just talked
about. These rules are based on what the web does better than other
media. Just as linear narrative is a tool of the print medium, just
as montage is a tool of movies, these are the tools of the web.
1. Network - The web is the great distributed medium. It
has no boundaries and it thrives on mass. Napster succeeds not just
because it offers music. Its strength is based on its network. The
more people who participate, the greater the value of the network.
2. Time and place - In old media, in print, you're pretty
much limited to one time frame, the past. A newspaper is, in fact,
an artifact, a snapshot of a certain point in time. But on the web,
time is fluid and it's a powerful tool. Time is information.
And information is time, web consultant Mark Teflian reminds us.
On the web, time can be both timely up to the minute
3. Interactivity - This is one of great differentiators
of the web. This is what web guru Jakob Nielsen means when he says
that doing is more memorable and makes a stronger emotional
impact than seeing.
4. Data - No where else but the web do you have the opportunity
to provide so much data; it's literally limitless. You also have
a plethora of different data types such as audio, video and
Flash files. Mining data and creating relationships between them
is something the Britannica site does so well.
5. Personality - This is something people tend to forget
about on the web. As we're all try to figure out the new rules,
everyone ends up looking like everyone else. But when you consider
the immensity of the web, the billions of pages out there and the
ubiquity of information, perhaps the only thing that's going to
set you apart is creating a personality: a tone, a voice that mirrors
who you are. That's why successful sites have a personality, why
Suck is different from Yahoo and Flowerbud.com.
So now you have 5 Rules of Engagement. And you are probably using
one or two of them on your site. You may even be using all 5, but
perhaps not in the optimum way. And that brings me back to Amazon.
Amazon is a site that has mastered the vocabulary of the web. It
engages all 5 goals share, entertain, create, inform and
transact and it uses all the tools: network, time, interactivity,
data and personality.
It has a network of readers who offer reviews, and you always know
what's timely and how old information is. Users offer not just reviews
but their own Top 10 lists, that is, they interact. Amazon mines
its deep well of data to tell you what's selling, what's not, how
items are ranked. And as for personality, you always know when you’re
on an Amazon page.