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Writing for the Web28 April 2012
People don’t read websites.They skim them.Users skim because:• They’re in a hurry• The page might not be what they’re look...
Users usually know what they’re looking for.People visit your website to complete a task.They glance over a page, looking ...
This changes how you write for the web.Your goal is to make your website’s content:• Skimmable• Concise• Useful.
Know your audience.Think about who is going to read the page youare writing.• How did they find your page?• What do they w...
Write journalistically.The inverted pyramid gives users the mostimportant information first.                              ...
The content overview sums                                   the rest of the page upWrite journalistically.The inverted pyr...
Omit needless words.“Get rid of half the words on each page, then getrid of half of what’s left.” – Krug’s Third Law of Us...
Be concise and to-the-point.Eliminate small talk. Web readers just want toget to the content.• Convey only one idea per pa...
Use subheadings.Subheadings will:• Make your content skimmable• Make relevant content stand out• Point out keywords• Break...
Use lists.Bulleted lists are easier to scan than paragraphsand add visual variety to a page.• Limit lists to 7 items.• Use...
Create meaningful links.Web readers use links to skim pages. They standout from regular text.• Links must describe what a ...
Use active voice.Active voice reduces the amount of effort a userneeds to exert to understand what you mean.Don’t use pass...
Tell your readers what to do.Think about what do you want the user to doonce they’ve read your page.A call-to-action tells...
Summary•   Make your content skimmable•   Write for the page’s audience(s)•   Use the inverted pyramid•   Reduce word coun...
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Writing for the web

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Writing for the web

  1. 1. Writing for the Web28 April 2012
  2. 2. People don’t read websites.They skim them.Users skim because:• They’re in a hurry• The page might not be what they’re looking for• They know they don’t have to read everything• It doesn’t matter if they click the wrong link.
  3. 3. Users usually know what they’re looking for.People visit your website to complete a task.They glance over a page, looking for somethingthat resembles what they are looking for, orsomething interesting.People look for:• Keywords• Subheadings• Lists• Links.
  4. 4. This changes how you write for the web.Your goal is to make your website’s content:• Skimmable• Concise• Useful.
  5. 5. Know your audience.Think about who is going to read the page youare writing.• How did they find your page?• What do they want?• What do you want to communicate to them?• What language will they be familiar with?Write your content specifically for the peoplewho are going to read it.
  6. 6. Write journalistically.The inverted pyramid gives users the mostimportant information first. SummaryThe summary, or content overview, shouldimmediately convey the purpose of the page or Key informationparagraph (1-2 short sentences). Other detailsThe user can move on if it’s not what they’relooking for.
  7. 7. The content overview sums the rest of the page upWrite journalistically.The inverted pyramid gives users the mostimportant information first.The summary, or content overview, shouldimmediately convey the purpose of the page orparagraph (1-2 short sentences).The user can move on if it’s not what they’relooking for.
  8. 8. Omit needless words.“Get rid of half the words on each page, then getrid of half of what’s left.” – Krug’s Third Law of UsabilityBy doing this, you will:• Make pages shorter and more skimmable• Make useful content more prominent• Encourage users to read your page.
  9. 9. Be concise and to-the-point.Eliminate small talk. Web readers just want toget to the content.• Convey only one idea per paragraph• One topic per page• Write short sentences.If it doesn’t contain useful or importantinformation, delete it.
  10. 10. Use subheadings.Subheadings will:• Make your content skimmable• Make relevant content stand out• Point out keywords• Break up long pieces of content.
  11. 11. Use lists.Bulleted lists are easier to scan than paragraphsand add visual variety to a page.• Limit lists to 7 items.• Use boldface to highlight the key message of the list item• Use numbered lists only when there is a hierarchy of information.
  12. 12. Create meaningful links.Web readers use links to skim pages. They standout from regular text.• Links must describe what a user will get when they click them• Never use click here as a link.
  13. 13. Use active voice.Active voice reduces the amount of effort a userneeds to exert to understand what you mean.Don’t use passive voice.Update your contact information in your memberprofile.vsNew contact information can be updated on yourmember profile page.
  14. 14. Tell your readers what to do.Think about what do you want the user to doonce they’ve read your page.A call-to-action tells the user what to do next.e.g.• Learn more about xyz.• Subscribe to our newsletter.
  15. 15. Summary• Make your content skimmable• Write for the page’s audience(s)• Use the inverted pyramid• Reduce word count and be concise• Use subheadings• Use lists• Make links part of your copy• Use active voice• Use call-to-actions.

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