Effective Web Writing: Your Website's Welcome Mat

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Effective Web Writing: Your Website's Welcome Mat

  1. 1. Vermont Library Conference May 20, 2014 Heidi Steiner Burkhardt Head of Digital Services Kreitzberg Library, Norwich University
  2. 2. “…because you are not there in person to lead them to the right place, give them the answer, or walk them through the steps, you have to build your site to do that in your place. You have to build your side of the conversation into the site.” - Redish (pg. 5)
  3. 3. BONUSES!
  4. 4. Learning about our users How people read on the web Essentials for good web writing 1 2 3
  5. 5. 1 2 3 Learning about our users
  6. 6. Identify primary audiences
  7. 7. Demographics
  8. 8. Find surveys somebody else did
  9. 9. Library Statistics http://www.tadl.org/stats/
  10. 10. Large Scale Surveys
  11. 11. Make it a habit
  12. 12. Personas
  13. 13. 1 2 3 How people read on the web
  14. 14. Yeah… …they don’t
  15. 15. People scan…
  16. 16. …and read in an F-pattern
  17. 17. An aside… the cognitive load of making decisions
  18. 18. 1 2 3 Essentials for good web writing
  19. 19. Ordering your content
  20. 20. Ordering your content Essential Message
  21. 21. Ordering your content Sequence or time
  22. 22. Ordering your content Sequence or time Audience
  23. 23. Ordering your content Sequence or time Audience Questions asked in order
  24. 24. Ordering your content Sequence or time Audience Questions asked in order Task
  25. 25. Keep it scannable!
  26. 26. Keep it scannable! Organize using headers
  27. 27. Keep it scannable! Organize using headers Highlight keywords
  28. 28. Keep it scannable! Organize using headers Highlight keywords Use bulleted lists
  29. 29. Keep it scannable! Organize using headers Highlight keywords Use bulleted lists One idea per paragraph
  30. 30. Keep it scannable! Organize using headers Highlight keywords Use bulleted lists One idea per paragraph 50% of usual words
  31. 31. Web writing is a conversation
  32. 32. Web writing is a conversation We/Us/Our and I/You/Your
  33. 33. Web writing is a conversation We/Us/Our and I/You/Your Plain language. Avoid jargon
  34. 34. Web writing is a conversation We/Us/Our and I/You/Your Plain language. Avoid jargon Use active voice
  35. 35. Save time of the reader
  36. 36. Save time of the reader Get to the point and stop
  37. 37. Save time of the reader Get to the point and stop Use parallel structure
  38. 38. Save time of the reader Get to the point and stop Use parallel structure Cut unnecessary words
  39. 39. Save time of the reader Get to the point and stop Use parallel structure Cut unnecessary words Space out nouns
  40. 40. Font choices
  41. 41. Font choices Never use all caps
  42. 42. Font choices Never use all caps Bold for emphasis
  43. 43. Font choices Never use all caps Bold for emphasis Italics sparingly
  44. 44. Font choices Never use all caps Bold for emphasis Italics sparingly Never underline
  45. 45. Links
  46. 46. Links Clear, concise and meaningful
  47. 47. Links Clear, concise and meaningful Words, phrases or a sentence
  48. 48. Links Clear, concise and meaningful Words, phrases or a sentence No Click Here. Ever
  49. 49. Links Clear, concise and meaningful Words, phrases or a sentence No Click Here. Ever No more than 2 in one sentence
  50. 50. Before
  51. 51. After
  52. 52. Further Reading Aaron Schmidt – http://www.walkingpaper.org/ and The User Experience Library Journal column Nielsen Norman Group - http://www.nngroup.com/ Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug Letting Go of Words by Ginny Redish
  53. 53. Photo Credits 1. Welcome to the train by Kdt. CC BY 2.0 2. Mitchell Library Reading Room, 1911-1912, by unknown photographer. Courtesy of the State Library of New South Wales. 4-5. Open door by seagers CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 7. Brainstorm by marcos c CC BY-NC 2.0 10. LT – Presentations – Audience Participation CC BY-NC 2.0 11. The Crew of NCC-1701-D by Dunechaser CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 12. The underside of a wagon by yewenyi CC BY-NC 2.0 14. Little Giant…the Sea! by .:Adry:. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 15. Reminders… by tiff_ku1 CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 18. X by hidden side CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 19. Yucatan by André Hofmeister CC BY-NC 2.0 20. Craquelure Capital Letter F On Glass by takomabibelot CC BY 2.0 21decisions by Impact Hub CC BY-SA 2.0 23-28. Life follows a pattern! by VinothChandar CC BY 2.0 29-34. Baby I Want You by Thomas Hawk CC BY-NC 2.0 35-38. What do you think they are talking about? CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 39-43. Cranbrook Gardens by beckstei CC BY 2.0 44 -48. speedy typing by abcdz2000 CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 49 -53. Detail of chain by ernest figueras CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 56. Open Book by Dave Dugdale CC BY-SA 2.0 59. Unsure Of The Next Step by eviloars CC BY-NC 2.0 60. thanks in purple by artnoose CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
  54. 54. Works Consulted Works Cited Nielsen, J. (1997). How users read on the web. Nielsen Norman Group. Accessed at http://www.nngroup.com/articles/how-users-read-on-the-web/ on 8 May 2014. -- (2006). F-Shaped pattern for reading web content. Nielsen Norman Group. Accessed at http://www.nngroup.com/articles/f-shaped-pattern-reading-web-content/ on 8 May 2014. -- (2008). How little do users read? Nielsen Norman Group. Accessed at http://www.nngroup.com/articles/how-little- do-users-read/ on 24 April 2014. Redish, G. (2007). Letting go of words: writing web content that works. Elsevier: San Fransciso. Sierra, K. (2013). “Your app makes me fat.” Serious Pony. Accessed at http://seriouspony.com/blog/2013/7/24/your- app-makes-me-fat on 8 May 2014. Class notes from Library Juice Academy’s Writing for the Web course with Rebecca Blakiston and Nicole Capdarest. Editorial Standards for Content on the UAL Website. University of Arizona Libraries. Provided via Writing for the Web Course. Liegl, C. (2013). Kennedy Library web communications: A simple guide to good web content. Accessed at http://lib.calpoly.edu/about/publications/2013/web_communications_handbook.pdf on 24 April 2014.
  55. 55. Heidi Steiner Burkhardt hsteiner@norwich.edu · www.heidisb.com

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