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Writing for the web Web Authors Group Meeting 20 November 2003.

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Presentation on theme: "Writing for the web Web Authors Group Meeting 20 November 2003."— Presentation transcript:

1 Writing for the web Web Authors Group Meeting 20 November 2003

2 Reading habits of web users 79 percent of users scan the page – they pick sentences or parts of sentences to get the information they want reading from computer screens is 25 percent slower than from paper users roam from page to page collecting bits of information users do not like long, scrolling pages – they want text short and to the point users detest marketing fluff or overly hyped language ("marketese") – they want factual information

3 Characteristics of web pages web pages must be more independent than print pages each page needs to be related to the home page via links and orientation of the page's content links should connect a page to the rest of the site

4 Basic rules 1. CUT IT DOWN AND SPLIT IT UP be succinct, clear and concise: write no more than 50% of the length of the paper equivalent write for scannability: don't make users read long continuous slabs of text present content in short segments (chunks) that focus on a certain topic use lists, headings and bullet points to split up long information

5 use links and bookmark links to split information into sections on the same page or multiple pages use the inverted pyramid style of writing – most important information at beginning of text

6 2. KEEP THE READER INFORMED provide information that is credible and current users should be able to determine who you are by your navigation and page design as web pages are independent and can be read out of context (eg when found by a search engine), the following three factors are critical: - who wrote it? (template, logo, source) - when did they write it? (last revised date) - who paid for it to be written? (important for websites that sell products)

7 3. MORE PAGE VIEWS OVER NICE PROSE litter your page with keywords or product name – the more it appears, the more likely the page will be picked up by search engines write clever keywords - imagine what a user would type into the search field eg study tips vs learning connection proofread and proofread (check grammar, spelling and style eg upper casing)

8 4. LINKS APLENTY link to the home page and main navigation – users need to know where they are in the context of the whole site include links to related content – this shows you've done research and care to give them information, and makes your content a more extensive resource web pages with lots of appropriate links can be like a mini-encyclopaedia of a particular topic

9 don't overdo it, though. Too many links, or links to topics only marginally related are distracting and annoying. the link name should be as close as possible to (if not exactly the same as) the heading of the page you are linking

10 Other tips don’t start the page with a menu – always write a short blurb to give users introductory/contextual information page and section headings should describe the material write globally - eg use the international date format (14 March 2003), Adelaide, South Australia avoid jargon, metaphors and puns that may make sense only in the context of your language and culture

11 use terminology that can be understood by someone unfamiliar with the organisation spell out (initially) acronyms avoid duplicating or recreating data that appears elsewhere (eg on another UniSA webpage) avoid using blinking or scrolling text for accessibility reasons

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