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

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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

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