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Writing for the Web - Association for Women in Communications, Springfield IL chapter
 

Writing for the Web - Association for Women in Communications, Springfield IL chapter

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Writing for the Web, presented to Springfield Area Chapter of the Association for Women in Communications, by Kandice Pryor, University of Illinois Springfield Center for Teaching and Learning

Writing for the Web, presented to Springfield Area Chapter of the Association for Women in Communications, by Kandice Pryor, University of Illinois Springfield Center for Teaching and Learning

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  • 79% - Sun Microsystems Study
  • Not more than 100 words so that readers can view chunk on one screen. Chunks can include more than one paragraph, headings, and other graphics.
  • Shel is a regular speaker on topics surrounding the application of online technology to strategic organizational communication.

Writing for the Web - Association for Women in Communications, Springfield IL chapter Writing for the Web - Association for Women in Communications, Springfield IL chapter Presentation Transcript

  • Usability, Accessibility, and Accuracy 04/14/11 Kandice Pryor, UIS
    • Create a Client Brief
      • Short-term and long-term objectives
      • Demographics, values, attitudes, and lifestyles of the desired audience
      • Tone, general impression, positive perception
      • Activities for visitors
      • Gifts/benefits to visitors
    • Organize consciously –most important to least important
    • (Source: Writing for the Web 4 th edition)
    04/14/11 Kandice Pryor, UIS
    • Users SCAN the web (79%)
    • Credibility is important
    • Users detest promotional writing style
    • Users read at most 28% of text
    • (Source: Jakob Nielsen's UseIt.com )
    04/14/11 Kandice Pryor, UIS
    • Write short
    • Notice each section on the page at the right is very short.
    • That’s good.
    04/14/11 Kandice Pryor, UIS
    • I really mean it.
    • Write short
    • Again, each section on the page to the right is very short.
    • That’s very good.
    04/14/11 Kandice Pryor, UIS
    • Don’t clutter
    • Too many people want to put way too much on a page, especially their home page.
    • Here’s one that didn’t. A successful company:
    04/14/11 Kandice Pryor, UIS
    • “ Chunking”
    • -- another way of saying “writing short”
    • Write small bits of succinct copy.
    • Why?
    • Because readers scan web copy.
    • And because it takes longer to read words on a screen.
    04/14/11 Kandice Pryor, UIS
    • Chunk? Chunking.
    • Now, this is a new word.
    • How long should a chunk be?
    • Short. Succinct. (14 words per sentence maximum, according to American Press Institute)
    • One uninterrupted idea.
    • No transitions from one idea to the next.
    • (Source: Shel Holtz in lecture at UIS, February 2008.)
    04/14/11 Kandice Pryor, UIS
    • Subheads… remember, readers will scan
    04/14/11 Kandice Pryor, UIS This is part of the AARP home page… Notice the chunks and subheads on the left and on the bottom… www.aarp.org
    • Subheads… How to write a clever headline
    • Read your headline out loud.
    • Get pumped up before you write
    • Get to the point. Keep it simple.
    • Write a bunch of headlines.
    • Examine your subject.
    • Write in one or two syllable words.
    • (Source: By Declan Dunn, The ClickZ Network , Feb 22, 2002)
    04/14/11 Kandice Pryor, UIS
    • Links:
    • Create links rather than more copy whenever possible
    • Remember, readers will scan …
    • The UIS home page is mostly hyperlinks. Easy to navigate.
    04/14/11 Kandice Pryor, UIS
    • Is longer copy EVER OK
    • on the web?
    • Yes.
    • But usually not on the first page.
    • Because readers scan web copy.
    • Readers will go to long stuff if they really want it.
    • It’s better to start with something short. Then create a link to the longer piece. That’s what newspapers and CNN do.
    • You get to longer stuff with chunks and links and subheads .
    04/14/11 Kandice Pryor, UIS
    • Home Page
      • Subheads
      • List of related links
      • Possibly images
    • Other Pages
      • Introductory topical paragraph (95% of readers read)
      • List of related links
      • LOTS of subheads
      • Possibly images
    04/14/11 Kandice Pryor, UIS
    • Style/Tone
      • Use actions verbs
      • Write to your readers – use “you”
      • Write about your reader
    04/14/11 Kandice Pryor, UIS
    • Organization
      • Bullet and number lists
        • One or two lines
        • 5-9 items per list
      • Spacing
        • Space between paragraphs or sentences
      • Use heading styles to separate subhead categories
      • Use columns to separate navigation and main text
    04/14/11 Kandice Pryor, UIS
    • Revise content with an eye for your audience and to keep content up to date
    • Consider revising your content for a global audience
    • Edit for grammar and punctuation errors
    • Proofread for typos
    04/14/11 Kandice Pryor, UIS
    • Readers usually SCAN web copy. So… write…
    • Short: Write short -- short sentences, short paragraphs.
    • Chunks: Write in chunks.
    • Subheads: Use subheads, not transitional words.
    • Links: Use hyperlinks to provide more information.
    • Use subheads, chunks and links to direct someone to more details or longer pieces, first
    • Contrast home page versus other pages
    • Write to and about your reader using action verbs and “ you ”
    • Organize text using bullet and number lists , spacing , heading styles , and columns
    • Revise , edit , and proofread .
    04/14/11 Kandice Pryor, UIS
    • Cluttering a page with too many words and long paragraphs.
    • Taking something you’ve written for print and just putting it onto a web site and calling that your good web site. Instead, use the principles above and rework your material for web readability.
    • Technical references – internet, world wide web, computers or servers, files, etc.
    • Underlining text that is not a hyperlink
    04/14/11 Kandice Pryor, UIS
    • Images
    • Audio
    • Video
    • Charts
    • Graphs
    • Polls
    … but always remember not to clutter or “turn off” your audience by too many design elements or text…especially LOUD, multi-colored, distracting designs. 04/14/11 Kandice Pryor, UIS
    • Re-write and format the following:
      • In order to serve our customers as effectively as possible, we will begin to offer them several new options for settling claims starting January 1 . One of these new options pertains to a choice of drive-up facilities , which will allow customers to pick the facility that is most convenient to their homes or jobs. Another one is a new short-form estimate . In the past, customers have asked for faster ways to settle claims. With these new options in place, we now have a better array of services to meet their needs.
    04/14/11 Kandice Pryor, UIS
    • Did your revision reformatting look like this?
    • New customer claims options (as of 1/1):
      • Drive-up facilities (convenience)
      • Short-form estimate (faster claims settlement)
    04/14/11 Kandice Pryor, UIS
    • Have other sites link to your site (blogs or other related sites)
    • Use keywords, good page titles, and links
    • Make important text bold or italic
    • Ask to get your site listed on a Web or Search Directory
    • Add something new on the homepage once a month
    • Use RSS technology
    04/14/11 Kandice Pryor, UIS
    • How does your site read?
    • Write alt text for images
    • Make sure your tab order follows the same order as your eyes would follow
    • Section 508 of the U.S. Federal Rehabilitation Act requires information to be accessible, including websites.
    • 19.6% of the U.S. population has some sort of disability
    • Follow Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
    04/14/11 Kandice Pryor, UIS
    • Always brainstorm/pre-write
    • Remember the10 principles
    • Use search engine optimization strategies
    • Design with accessibility
    • Never conform to worst practices
    04/14/11 Kandice Pryor, UIS
    • D unn, Declan. 2002. See The ClickZ Network .
    • Holtz, Shel. 2008. Lecture at UIS. Also see A Shel of My Former Self.
    • Hutson, Sherry. 2011. Office of Web Services. University of Illinois Springfield.
    • Kilian, Crawford. 2009. Writing for the Web
    • MIT Libraries. See MIT's Guidelines for Writing for the Web.
    • Nielson, Jakob. See UseIt.com
    • Purdue University. Purdue's Web Writing Tips
    • Wojcicki, Ed. 2008. Lecture at UIS for PAD 575
    04/14/11 Kandice Pryor, UIS