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:
WWW: Writing for the Wired World Internet Librarian International March 18, 2002 Darlene Fichter, Data Librarian University of Saskatchewan library.usask.ca/~fichter/
Overview Writing & Reading for the Web Do’s & Don’ts –Format –Scanning –Style –Language –Jargon
Not Covering Field testing Task based testing Scenario building Card sorting Preference testing (briefly)
Reading & Writing Goal is to communicate –Strategy –Key messages –Your audience
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
People read: 25% slower on the screen Find Arial or Times Roman fonts at 12 pt the most legible
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.
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!
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”
“Scanability” Create headings and subheadings Be consistent –use font and/or color to offset headings
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
Which is faster? Why? Books Art Journals E-Journals History Maps Geography Mathematics Art Books Geography Journals History E-Journals Mathematics Maps 1 2
Organizing Content for Viewing In columns, not rows Categorical not alphabetical TopicFormat Art Books Geography Journals History E-Journals MathematicsMaps
Scan for Links Make the links in your text meaningful Make visited and unvisited links contrast with the base font color.
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
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?
1. Cambridge University
2. University of Surrey
Which site worked best?
Style Concise Pyramid style (newspaper) Scanning – lists, lists and more lists Looks a lot like PowerPoint
Language Use the language of your users Ambiguity is a problem Provide context
Classic Mistakes on Library Sites Library sites are full of jargon. –WinSPIRS –EbscoHost –Access –Database –Gateway –Services –Electronic Reserves
Labels are Challenging Testing helps Use a “cookie test” Create a list of possible labels: –My Account –Borrower Information –Library Card –Your Library Card
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?
Other Important Writing Tasks Errors –Should stand out from other text –Should be comprehensible 404 not found ?
Error: Author Search
Things to Avoid “Marketese” –Anything that sounds like “advertising” is a complete turn off … the best, the biggest …
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
Myths & Ironies Everyone owns a “printing press” Explosion of publishing Dearth of “good writing” Need good writers’ that can create concise and interesting headlines
Secret to Good Wired Writing Observe and learn Write often Revise, revise and revise Read the usability studies and research reports
Good News for Librarians Some of it comes naturally –Group & categorize things –Assign labels –Think about words & meaning –Service oriented
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