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Structuring and Writing
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Structuring and Writing Your GPC Workshop

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When Georgia Perimeter College at Georgia State needed all faculty and staff web publishers to write in a consistent voice on their websites, I created this three hour course designed for all level of writers and non-writers on how to write for digital platforms.

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Structuring and Writing Your GPC Workshop

  1. 1. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 1 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop
  2. 2. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 2 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Part 1: Objectives Digital Communications Theory •Learn what makes web communications different from print communications •Define writing techniques that make web pages more user-friendly •Identify most common/helpful pages to include on sites
  3. 3. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 3 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Part 2: Objectives Structuring and Writing Techniques •Identify writing/layout techniques that make text easier to understand •Identify components of “web friendly” written copy •Complete a short practice writing exercise to apply web friendly copywriting techniques
  4. 4. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 4 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Part 3: Objectives Creating and Structuring Your Site Using the GPC Website Look and Feel •Define the role of the site owner, site manager and site writer •Learn to plan out site by using the website creation worksheet •List pages that meet the site goals
  5. 5. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 5 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Part 3: Objectives Creating and Structuring Your Site Using the GPC Website Look and Feel •Plug in your pages in the GPC look and feel template worksheet •Complete a short website structuring and writing exercise of creating either a fictitious site or beginning work on your own site
  6. 6. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 6 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Part 3: Objectives Creating and Structuring Your Site Using the GPC Website Look and Feel •Share work and offer feedback
  7. 7. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 7 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Some Ground Rules: A Q&A will take place at the end of each part (so hold questions please!) Will include some breaks in between.
  8. 8. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 8 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Digital Communications Theory – Part 1 What is a website? A website is a collection of electronic “pages” that can include text, images, video, audio and interactive forms and games that are linked together.
  9. 9. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 9 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Digital Communications Theory – Part 1 How are websites and web pages unique from print and television? •Users interact differently with the medium. -Use navigation to go from one page to another (instead of “turning pages”) -Expect to click on links to go from one page to another easily (don’t want to do much work)
  10. 10. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 10 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Digital Communications Theory – Part 1 How are websites and web pages unique from print and television? -Expect to “do” things online i.e. fill out forms, take a poll, watch videos, listen to audio, click on something -Users read on a screen (tv screen, computer screen, e-reader screen, cellphone screen)
  11. 11. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 11 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Digital Communications Theory – Part 1 Users read web pages differently than they read print pages •Scan pages instead of reading in depth or methodically •Read out of sequence •Don’t like to scroll too much – but will do so under certain circumstances
  12. 12. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 12 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Digital Communications Theory – Part 1 There are different types of web readers: -Readers who know what they are looking for -Readers who aren’t sure what they are looking for but go to a site and stumble upon useful information
  13. 13. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 13 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Digital Communications Theory – Part 1 How do we make web pages more user-friendly for our web audience? •Make links and information easy to find •Use action words to tell users what they should do – how to interact: (Apply here, Contact us, Download this form, Get started)
  14. 14. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 14 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Digital Communications Theory – Part 1 How do we make web pages more user-friendly for our web audience? •Write text using minimal jargon (keep it simple enough for grandma to read) •Keep text clear and when possible concise •Make navigation (your menus) is easy to understand
  15. 15. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 15 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Digital Communications Theory – Part 1 How do we make web pages more user-friendly for our web audience? •“Chunk out” long pages into several pages when possible •Add bolded headings to section off each part of a long page that can’t be chunked out
  16. 16. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 16 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Digital Communications Theory – Part 1 How do we make web pages more user-friendly for our web audience? Use common pages that are helpful to users Four Helpful Pages to Users: •About us – page that explains what the company/organization does in brief •Contact us – phone numbers, addresses and people to contact* •Frequently Asked Questions – Common questions and answers about that department or company
  17. 17. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 17 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Digital Communications Theory – Part 1 How do we make web pages more user-friendly for our web audience? Use common pages that are helpful to users Four Helpful Pages to Users: •“How to” pages – page that breaks down how to do something step by step (how to apply to a program, how to pay a bill, how to fill out an application)
  18. 18. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 18 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Digital Communications Theory – Part 1 How do we make web pages more user-friendly for our web audience? Use common pages that are helpful to users Another Helpful Pages: •“Who We are and What We Do” pages – This is a combination of an about us page and contact us page. Example: Dean of Student Services site: http://www.gpc.edu/~gpcdeans/
  19. 19. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 19 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Digital Communications Theory – Part 1 Not So Helpful or Relevant Pages Unless…*: •Mission Statement – Only helpful if it is a requirement that the organization or group finds it on the website. •Welcome Letter – Only helpful if its from a “personality” driven site or page
  20. 20. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 20 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Digital Communications Theory – Part 1 How do we make web pages more user-friendly for our web audience? Example of a website that contains pages that are user-friendly: www.gpc.edu/tag
  21. 21. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 21 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Q&A – Then STRETCH BREAK!
  22. 22. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 22 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Structuring and Writing Techniques– Part 2 Computer friendly writing •Inverted pyramid style –journalism technique where the most important information is included in the first paragraph. •Active voice sentences – Use action verbs and action sentences (Apply now, download this document, sign up for this class) •Simple writing – Jargon and exaggeration free
  23. 23. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 23 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Structuring and Writing Techniques– Part 2 Computer friendly writing •Chunked pages – these are long pages that are split up into separate pages based on subject areas in the pages.
  24. 24. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 24 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Structuring and Writing Techniques– Part 2 Inverted Pyramid Style web page on GPC site Examples: www.gpc.edu/geap
  25. 25. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 25 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Structuring and Writing Techniques– Part 2 Example of How to Simplify Writing: •Original version of website copy featured on site promoting Nebraska parks: •Nebraska is filled with internationally recognized attractions that draw large crowds of people every year, without fail. In 1996, some of the most popular places were Fort Robinson State Park (355,000 visitors), Scotts Bluff National Monument (132,166), Arbor Lodge State Historical Park & Museum (100,000), Carhenge (86,598), Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer (60,002), and Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park (28,446). Source: Jakob Nielsen, http://www.useit.com/alertbox/9710a.html
  26. 26. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 26 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Structuring and Writing Techniques– Part 2 Example of How to Simplify Writing: •Revised version that scored the second highest: In 1996, six of the best-attended attractions in Nebraska were Fort Robinson State Park, Scotts Bluff National Monument, Arbor Lodge State Historical Park & Museum, Carhenge, Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer, and Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park. Source: Jakob Nielsen, http://www.useit.com/alertbox/9710a.html
  27. 27. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 27 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Structuring and Writing Techniques– Part 2 Example of How to Simplify Writing: •Revised version that scored the highest: In 1996, six of the most-visited places in Nebraska were: •Fort Robinson State Park •Scotts Bluff National Monument •Arbor Lodge State Historical Park & Museum •Carhenge •Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer •Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park Source: Jakob Nielsen, http://www.useit.com/alertbox/9710a.html
  28. 28. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 28 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Structuring and Writing Techniques– Part 2 Computer friendly text structuring •Bolded Headlines – this gives users visual cues as to what part of your text is important to skip to (this is helpful to “readers who scan”; also breaks up long text •Subheadlines – headlines underneath the main headline •Bullet Point Lists •Numbered Lists •Simple Easy Navigation
  29. 29. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 29 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Structuring and Writing Techniques– Part 2 Examples: Cornell University http://cornell.edu/academics/departments.cfm
  30. 30. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 30 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Q &A TIME
  31. 31. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 31 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Structuring and Writing Techniques– Part 2 Writing Exercise: Use the inverted pyramid style to write the copy – ONE PARAGRAPH up to five sentences - for the fictitious GPC About Us page. The audience for this page are prospective students of all ages looking for general information about GPC. Make sure you are including the most important information about the college in the first two sentence of the paragraph that you feel the prospective students should know.
  32. 32. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 32 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Structuring and Writing Techniques– Part 2 Writing Exercise: You may include the following details: (Four campuses: Clarkston, Decatur, Dunwoody and Newton and one location Alpharetta Center. Affordable, convenient. Also refer to the OIRP gpcfactsheet document for source material. .While prospective students include students of all ages, include the common pieces of information that all of the different age prospective students need to know.) Use some of the techniques we mentioned like bulleted or numbered lists. YOU HAVE 15 MINUTES.
  33. 33. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 33 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Class Critique and Questions?
  34. 34. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 34 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop 5 MINUTE BREAK
  35. 35. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 35 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Creating and Structuring Your Site Using the GPC Website Look and Feel Part 3 Drupal Content Management System (CMS): What is a content management system: A content management system (CMS) is a software that allows any type of user(s) to create, edit, organize and publish their web pages without needing to know *web publishing code. *Note if you know web publishing code, you can use it to format your text in the body text of page in content management system.
  36. 36. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 36 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Creating and Structuring Your Site Using the GPC Website Look and Feel Part 3 Drupal Content Management System (CMS): What is a content management system: The CMS takes care of the Web template design. Users need only enter the information that will go into the specific template regions. The CMS will organize the content into the GPC look and feel template for the user.
  37. 37. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 37 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Creating and Structuring Your Site Using the GPC Website Look and Feel Part 3 Drupal Content Management System (CMS): Within the system you assign roles to the person or persons who will maintain your site. This gives them access to perform certain functions to the site.
  38. 38. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 38 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Creating and Structuring Your Site Using the GPC Website Look and Feel Part 3 Drupal Content Management System (CMS): Role “Job Descriptions” Site Manager – has total control of site, can create pages, menus, and authorize other people to have access to the site to create pages. They have authority to publish the pages and make it live to the world.
  39. 39. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 39 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Creating and Structuring Your Site Using the GPC Website Look and Feel Part 3 Drupal Content Management System (CMS): Role “Job Descriptions” Writer – person who has permission to create content on your site and edit them. They can’t publish the pages. Once they create the pages, it goes to the site manager for review and the site manager has authority to publish it.
  40. 40. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 40 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Creating and Structuring Your Site Using the GPC Website Look and Feel Part 3 How to Create Your Site: Step 1: Plan! Plan! Plan! Plan out the site first following these techniques: 1.) Determine who your audience is 2.) Write out your site goals 3.) Write out a list of pages that meet your site goals (site map/outline) 4.) Write copy text using techniques we discussed and format the text the way it should be seen on the screen. 5.) Use website creation worksheet to plan out the site.
  41. 41. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 41 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Creating and Structuring Your Site Using the GPC Website Look and Feel Part 3 Step 1: Use Website creation worksheet for planning.
  42. 42. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 42 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Creating and Structuring Your Site Using the GPC Website Look and Feel Part 3 Step 2: Use GPC look and feel template sheet to map out navigation/page order
  43. 43. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 43 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Creating and Structuring Your Site Using the GPC Website Look and Feel Part 3 Step 3: Transfer content (text pages to CMS)
  44. 44. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 44 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Creating and Structuring Your Site Using the GPC Website Look and Feel Part 3 Review examples: 1.) GEAP Website Creation Worksheet for GEAP site 2.) GEAP website copy draft (completed GEAP site: www.gpc.edu/geap 3.) Review GEAP Look and Feel document
  45. 45. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 45 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Creating and Structuring Your Site Using the GPC Website Look and Feel Part 3 Writing Exercise: 20 minutes Students have two options: Option 1: Write out a plan, list of four pages and navigation and a paragraph for one of the pages for your department site. OR
  46. 46. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 46 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Creating and Structuring Your Site Using the GPC Website Look and Feel Part 3 Writing Exercise: 20 minutes Students have two options: Option 2: Write out a plan, list of four pages and navigation and a paragraph for one of the pages for the following fictitious site: The President’s Writing Club is a new group at GPC. The purpose of it is to get people to write. But the President hasn’t decided which audience to target the club toward. The assignment is to “flesh out” this club in creating the site. Determine what audience this club should target, and what the purpose the site should serve in order to be useful to the target audience. List four pages that should be included in this site. Fill out the GPC look and feel template worksheet and write copy for one of the pages.
  47. 47. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 47 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Creating and Structuring Your Site Using the GPC Website Look and Feel Part 3 Brief review of one or two sites if time permits
  48. 48. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 48 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop Miscellaneous: • Tagging • Adding Video/Audio : GPC YouTube www.youtube.com/gaperimetercollege) Get help from instructional technologists and/or OIT Trainers to add your video to pages.
  49. 49. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 49 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop END OF CLASS TIPS: • Remember a website is a different medium than print or television • Structure your content and writing for screen reading • Use the inverted pyramid writing style and easy to screen read techniques like bullets, bolded headlines and numbered lists in your writing and layout of text
  50. 50. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 50 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop SUMMARY: • Write copy that grandma would understand (don’t use jargon when necessary). • Plan out your site and write it out first before transferring it to the CMS • Test your site using potential “site audience” sample
  51. 51. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 51 Structuring and Writing Your GPC Website Workshop SUMMARY: • Communicate with other GPC colleagues who may have similar sites or sites related to the site you are working on to keep from duplicating efforts and to determine link opportunities.
  52. 52. Presented by Rosemary Jean-LouisPresented by Rosemary Jean-Louis 52 Structuring and Writing Your Website Workshop END OF CLASS QUICK Q & A

When Georgia Perimeter College at Georgia State needed all faculty and staff web publishers to write in a consistent voice on their websites, I created this three hour course designed for all level of writers and non-writers on how to write for digital platforms.

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