Your SlideShare is downloading. ×
Writing For The Web Fall 2011
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5

Thanks for flagging this SlideShare!

Oops! An error has occurred.


Saving this for later?

Get the SlideShare app to save on your phone or tablet. Read anywhere, anytime - even offline.

Text the download link to your phone

Standard text messaging rates apply

Writing For The Web Fall 2011


Published on

Basic practices for journalists when writing and formatting content for digital consumption.

Basic practices for journalists when writing and formatting content for digital consumption.

Published in: Technology, Design

1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total Views
On Slideshare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

Report content
Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

No notes for slide
  • Who is your audience? Visualize readers - person's purpose have for reading the story. - Use case - what is the call to action? News you can use? - Questions - stories - Obstacles - obstacles to take action
  • Information is what drives web sites. Any site must begin with engaging content.
  • Users stick with one site as long as it delivers what they are looking for.
  • Use half the word count of conventional writing. Be a brutal editor. Google reads the first 66 characters
  • Google reads the first 66 characters
  • With so many competing sources, a unique conversational voice may help distinguish your pages.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Usability and Writing For The Web Marie K. Shanahan University of Connecticut September 2011
    • 2. Why do people visit a website?
    • 3. “ Too many organizations believe that a web site is about opening a new marketing channel or getting donations or to promote a brand. No. It’s about solving your customers’ problems.” - Vincent Flanders,
    • 4. Problem Solving
      • Most people visit a website because they want or need one or more of the following:
      • Information
      • Entertainment / Diversion
      • Connect with others
      • Commerce
    • 5. What makes for a good website?
    • 6.  
    • 7. The most popular sites have…
      • Pages that load fast
      • Reliable search function
      • Layouts that are easy to navigate
      • Unobtrusive advertising
      • Information that caters to intended audience
    • 8. The best websites fulfill users expectations with the least amount of stress.
    • 9. Content is king
      • The single most important thing most Web sites can offer to their users is content that those users will find valuable .
    • 10. You have less than 90 seconds
      • Every human being has his/her own distinct thought processes to take him/her from POINT A to POINT B.
      • People make a subconscious judgment about a person, environment, or product within 90 seconds of initial viewing.
    • 11. Don’t Make Me Think
      • Be as obvious as possible
      • Consistency – uniform layouts
      • Keywords
    • 12. The web is a visual medium.
    • 13. The Psychology of Color
      • “ Vision is the primary source for all our experiences.”
      • “ We become bored in the absence of a variety of colors and shapes… Color addresses one of our basic neurological needs for stimulation.”
      • - Jill Morton, “ Why Color Matters”(2005)
    • 14. Visual functionality
      • On a web page, successful communication is influenced by:
      • Text on the screen
      • Page layout
      • Images: graphics and photos
      • Color
    • 15. Satisfaction or irritation?
      • If visitors feel like they have a “ sense of mastery” over a web site, they will achieve their goals and find satisfaction with the experience.
      • If visitors find a web page confusing and difficult to use, many will click away, feeling irritated and unfulfilled.
    • 16. Individuality rules online. Consumers are in control.
    • 17. Web habits
      • Scanning and searching
      • Loyalty only to the page where they started
      • Rarely do web users start and end sessions in the same place
      • Users stick with one site as long as it delivers what they seek.
    • 18. Image courtesy of
    • 19. Users aren’ t really “reading”
      • People scan pages, using their visual brains.
      • Provide visual hierarchy on a web page with text size, color, emphasis.
    • 20. Prominence
      • “ The more important something is, the more prominent it is. For instance, the most important headings are either
      • larger , bolder , in a distinctive color ,
      • set off by more white space,
      • nearer the top of the page, or some combination of the above. ”
      • – Steve Krug, “Dont Make Me Think”
    • 21. Eyetracking Images from / alertbox / reading_pattern.html
    • 22. Eyetracking Graphics from
    • 23. “ Inverted pyramid” style of writing works very well on the web.
    • 24. Inverted Pyramid Graphic from:
    • 25. Get to the point
    • 26. Put your text on a diet
      • 79% of web users scan any new page for individual words and sentences.
      • Only 16 percent read it word-for-word.
    • 27. Targets
      • Headlines – less than 8 words
      • Sentences – less than 20 words
      • Paragraphs – less than 70 words
      • Pages – less than 400 words
    • 28. Readability on the web
      • Divide up information into logical segments or chunks
      • One idea per paragraph
      • Highlighted keywords
      • Bulleted lists
      • Subheads
    • 29. Don’ t disorient me
      • The computer screen provides a limited view of long documents.
      • Long web pages require users to scroll and remember what is off-screen.
      • “ Chunking” information helps orient users.
    • 30. Always hyperlink. Transparency = credibility
    • 31. Hyperlinking Best Practices
      • Never construct a sentence around a link phrase, such as “ click here for more information .“
      • Write as you normally would.
      • Place the link on the words that best describe the additional content .
    • 32. Examples Poor: Click here for more information on placing links within your text. Better: Avoid problems with Web links by carefully managing their placement within the context of your document.
    • 33. Search engines can lead people to your information.
    • 34. SEO / Headlines
      • S earch E ngine O ptimization
      • Headlines should include obvious keywords that people would use when searching.
    • 35. Headlines: Obvious = Better
      • Online headlines alone must provide enough “information scent” to let users predict what they'll get if they click.
      • Nothing else may be there to explain a story's content.
      • - Jakob Nielsen ’ s Alertbox
    • 36. Cultivate a voice. Readers welcome a measure of individuality from their information sources. (image by
    • 37. The Manolo says…
      • “ Do not be afraid to be different. In fact, being different it is the advantage in the marketplace where there are fifty thousand [sources] on the topic you have chosen.”
      • -
    • 38. Active Verbs, Active Voice
      • Marie was speaking to the audience. (passive)
      • Marie spoke to the audience. (active)
      • Marie shouted / mumbled / whined / whispered / cried/ questioned / growled / declared. (active, vivid, descriptive verbs)
    • 39. REMEMBER: Users expect to be able to read, listen, watch, choose, click and participate.
    • 40. Visualize your readers Always keep your audience in mind before and during your writing and designing . Image by
    • 41. Constantly ask…
      • Why should readers care about this?
      • How can I make this information useful to readers?
      • How can I design this content to be more interactive and compelling?
    • 42. Writing method
      • Write
      • Read
      • Cut
      • Set aside
      • Cut more
      • Proofread
      • Post
      • Image by
    • 43. After you post
      • Twitter
      • Facebook
      • Share with sources
      • Share with topic “influencers ”
    • 44. Assignment
      • Take a “print” story you wrote in Newswriting 1 or another journalism class and produce it on the web using the best practices.
      • Give the story a “visual center”
      • Hyperlink to source material, additional information
      • Format your text for ease of reading - bold, subheads, bullets
      • Include plenty of white space
      • Be a brutal word editor