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Writing for the Web


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Presentation for a panel discussion at Internet Librarian 2015.

Published in: Education

Writing for the Web

  2. 2. Write like you talk try reading out loud
  3. 3. Relax and have fun with it "Do better research. (And, maybe, get a better grade)." "Write and cite like a pro." "We're here to help!"
  4. 4. Two pages of the passive voice - just about any business document ever written, in other words... make me want to scream. It's weak, it's circuitous, and it's frequently tortuous, as well. Stephen King
  5. 5. Use active voice Library cards can be renewed.... These statistics have been gathered... Customers are advised... Renew your library card... We gathered these statistics... We advise you...
  6. 6. Pick nouns and verbs wisely The context of events led to new collective thinking about future processes. The creative culture of the organization leads to the ability to move forward quickly on technological initiatives. Our librarians are creating better ways to get work done. Staff members are creative, making it easy to move forward quickly on technological initiatives.
  7. 7. Define your voice and tone Reassuring, but not paternalistic. Inspiring, but not cheerlead-y. Fun, but not cheeky. Academic, but not highbrow.
  8. 8. Pick a succinct, meaningful title Patron-Driven Acquisitions (also known as On-Demand Information Delivery) Interlibrary Loan, Document Delivery, and Express Retrieval Services Getting books at your request Get books and articles you need, when you need them
  9. 9. Keep sentences and paragraphs short Paragraphs no more than three sentences or six lines. Sentences no more than 25 words. A paragraph can be just one sentence. recommends Ann Handley, Everybody Writes
  10. 10. Use headings to organize content
  11. 11. Use the power of parallelism Improve your research skills Finding sources in your discipline Grant funding searching Improve your research skills Find sources in your discipline Search for grant funding
  12. 12. Use tables for related content
  13. 13. Use bulleted lists for items and options
  14. 14. Use numbered lists for instructions
  15. 15. But use instructions sparingly Avoid saying: Fill out the form below. To navigate this website... To use this web page...
  16. 16. As well as other unnecessary things Avoid saying: In this article... In this blog post... On this web page...
  17. 17. Cut. Cut. Cut again.
  18. 18. Focus on essential messages Know your audience. Define call(s) to action. Only include content that meets user and organizational goals. Put key messages first.
  19. 19. No one will ever complain that you've made things too simple to understand. Ann Handley
  20. 20. Remove unnecessary adverbs Very large Very small Argue strongly Huge Tiny Insist
  21. 21. Remove redundant adjectives Our strategic plan is innovative, creative, and forward-thinking. Our strategic plan is breaking new ground.
  22. 22. Simplify Use For To Except for When Called Although Utilize To ensure In order to With the possible exception of At which time Referred to as In spite of the fact that