Writing for the Web Jeff Wisniewski [email_address] facebook.com/wisniewski.jeff
Nation Shudders At Large Block Of Uninterrupted Text
WASHINGTON—Unable to rest their eyes on a colorful photograph or boldface heading that could be easily skimmed and forgotten about, Americans collectively recoiled Monday when confronted with a solid block of uninterrupted text.
Dumbfounded citizens from Maine to California gazed helplessly at the frightening chunk of print, unsure of what to do next. Without an illustration, chart, or embedded YouTube video to ease them in, millions were frozen in place, terrified by the sight of one long, unbroken string of English words.
Built in 1995, the Fanny Millstein Library is located at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, approximately 35 miles east of Pittsburgh, PA. The library, originally housed in Powers Hall, was established to provide academic support and to serve the research needs of the Greensburg Campus' students, faculty and staff. Currently the library contains over 78,000 volumes and provides access to a vast array of information resources through the University Library System's Digital Library. There is also a computer lab and wireless network available to students for research and class work. Open seven days a week during the Fall and Spring terms, the library greets an average of 60,000 patrons each year. To learn more about the library, please visit our online tour, view our presentation, Welcome to the Millstein Library, or enjoy reading Millstein Matters.
Make sure the pages that you work on exemplify the practice of good writing for the web.
include writing and editorial guidelines in the standard briefing for all new web site authors
Work with your webmaster to make sure that new authors not only receive an account and a password to post web pages, but they have some time with an individual who can describe the editorial guidelines
invite key content providers to be observers in usability testing
Seeing is believing.
Some people will fail to recognize the problems with writing online as if it were print until they see actual users failing.
Try to have different people in your library take a turn at being an observer in a usability test and the debrief session.