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WWW: Writing for the Wired World Internet Librarian International March 18, 2002 Darlene Fichter, Data Librarian University of Saskatchewan library.usask.ca/~fichter/

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Presentation on theme: "WWW: Writing for the Wired World Internet Librarian International March 18, 2002 Darlene Fichter, Data Librarian University of Saskatchewan library.usask.ca/~fichter/"— Presentation transcript:

1 WWW: Writing for the Wired World Internet Librarian International March 18, 2002 Darlene Fichter, Data Librarian University of Saskatchewan library.usask.ca/~fichter/

2 Overview  Writing & Reading for the Web  Do’s & Don’ts –Format –Scanning –Style –Language –Jargon

3 Not Covering  Field testing  Task based testing  Scenario building  Card sorting Preference testing (briefly)

4 Reading & Writing  Goal is to communicate –Strategy –Key messages –Your audience

5 Rule #1 Write for the way your user's read  How do people read on the screen? –Top to bottom –Left to right –Focus first on the micro-content –Scroll to the bottom –Only after failing - side menu - top menu

6 People read:  25% slower on the screen  Find Arial or Times Roman fonts at 12 pt the most legible

7 Research shows: DON’T read  People who are looking for information don't READ, they SCAN.  If they have to read instructions or HELP page most people WILL NOT.

8 What if they really need to read?  What should you do? Tips: Throw away 50% and then 50% again Provide a good head line and summary. Make it easy to print the 20 page report or pieces of 100 page report. Make sure that your longer documents are indexed!

9 Long Documents as HTML  Chunk – slice it and dice it  Present a “model” that the users understand  Give a table of content  Internal navigation –“page to page”, “back to section”, “back to T of C”

10 “Scanability”  Create headings and subheadings  Be consistent –use font and/or color to offset headings

11 Which is easiest to read? Research says…  Anatomy  Biology  Biotechnology  Chemistry  Microbiology  Physics  Zoology Anatomy Biology Biotechnology Chemistry Microbiology Physics Zoology Anatomy Biology Biotechnology Chemistry Microbiology Physics Zoology 1. White space 2. Bullets & white 3. No space space & no bullets

12 Which is faster? Why? Books Art Journals E-Journals History Maps Geography Mathematics Art Books Geography Journals History E-Journals Mathematics Maps 1 2

13 Organizing Content for Viewing  In columns, not rows  Categorical not alphabetical TopicFormat Art Books Geography Journals History E-Journals MathematicsMaps

14 Scan for Links  Make the links in your text meaningful  Make visited and unvisited links contrast with the base font color.

15 Example of Scanning How to Find Information 1.Search the catalogue 2.Browse by subject 3. For e-books, click here 4.Visit our list of web resources 5. Recommeded web sites on SociologyRecommeded web sites on Sociology

16 Concrete Example

17 Tour  4 sites –Jot down notes / opinions about the ability to scan and find words quickly –Which sites work best? Why? –Which sites don’t work as well? Why?

18 1. Cambridge University

19 2. University of Surrey

20 3. Uppsala

21 4. Hammersmith

22 Which site worked best?

23 Scan?

24 Style  Concise  Pyramid style (newspaper)  Scanning – lists, lists and more lists  Looks a lot like PowerPoint

25 Language  Use the language of your users  Ambiguity is a problem  Provide context

26 Classic Mistakes on Library Sites  Library sites are full of jargon. –WinSPIRS –EbscoHost –Access –Database –Gateway –Services –Electronic Reserves

27 Example

28 Labels are Challenging  Testing helps  Use a “cookie test”  Create a list of possible labels: –My Account –Borrower Information –Library Card –Your Library Card

29 Go where your users are  Your lunch room or hallways at lunch break  Aim for cross-section  Ask which they prefer Reverse Study: Take a few concepts and ask them what they would call the item or group of items?

30 Other Important Writing Tasks  Errors –Should stand out from other text –Should be comprehensible 404 not found ?

31 Error: Author Search

32 Things to Avoid  “Marketese” –Anything that sounds like “advertising” is a complete turn off … the best, the biggest …

33 The “Buzz”: Reusability  Write once, use many times  Device independent access  Break content in small nuggets  Assemble to suit –Web Pages –WAP –Headline Services –Alerts

34 Myths & Ironies  Everyone owns a “printing press”  Explosion of publishing  Dearth of “good writing”  Need good writers’ that can create concise and interesting headlines

35 Secret to Good Wired Writing  Observe and learn  Write often  Revise, revise and revise  Read the usability studies and research reports

36 Good News for Librarians  Some of it comes naturally –Group & categorize things –Assign labels –Think about words & meaning –Service oriented

37 Sites for Web Writing  Writing for the Web – Jakob Nielsen  Good Documents: How to write for the INTRAnet  Yale’s Web Style Guide: Editorial itorial_style.html itorial_style.html  Software Usability Research Laboratory Newsletter  National Cancer Institute Usability.gov

38 Books, Columns & Reference Sites  Writing & Usability

39 Thank you!  Questions? Darlene Fichter University of Saskatchewan Libraries library.usask.ca/~fichter/


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