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writing for the web


Simon Pauley

on 2 February 2010

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Transcript of writing for the web

Writing for the web
Simon Pauley
Web Content Manager
Reading for the web
25% slower than reading from paper
28% of words on a page
Eye tracking evidence
3 questions
1. What are you trying to convey?
2. How does it help the user?
3. What should the user do next?
The Surfing myth
Users don't ‘surf’ the web
Time pressure
User goals
If users can’t find what they are looking for…
Insights for writing for the web
People do not read web pages!
First 2 paragraphs must state the most important info
Start headings/paragraphs/bullet points with information carrying words
Write for scannability
Correct content structure – headings/paragraphs
Highlighting and emphasis to catch the eye
Bulleted or numbered lists
Use meaningful headlines rather than clever taglines
Don’t be too clever
“I notice that you use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. That is the way to write English – it is the modern way and the best way.”
Mark Twain (1880)
Don’t make users think
Remove all user questions
Use simple and direct language
Remove sales/marketing speak
Writing style
Avoid slang or jargon
Use shorter words where possible
Avoid complex sentence structures
One idea per sentence
Use active words
One idea per paragraph
Improves scanning
Reduces risk of skipping important information
Very effective when combined with front-loading content
Front-loading content
Conclusion first
Followed by what, how, where, when and why
Best example: newspapers
Use descriptive
Easy scanning of sub-themes
Group on-page content into logical groups
Embolden important words
Descriptive link text
Use meaningful text for the link
Make sure the link adds value
Don’t use ‘Click here’ or similar
Use lists
Easier to scan
Are less intimidating than a block of text
Usually more succinct
79% scan
25% slower
First sentences of paragraphs
Highlighted text
People will not read your web pages!
Make sure the user can quickly tell what the content is about.
Put the vital content first
How much can you see in 35 seconds?
Time spent on the home page by inexperienced users
(reduces to 25 seconds if web user is experienced)
Conclusion first
Followed by what, how, where, when and why
Best example: newspapers
Content process
Writing for the web
Team overview
Publishing Process
And finally...
ConstructionSkills Eteam
What do we do?
and, nthg.org.uk
+ Intranet
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Social Media
Stats - we measure everything
Full transcript