Writing for the Web
"We're thinking 'great literature' (or at least, product brochure)
while the user's reality is much closer to 'billboard going by at 60
miles an hour'."
Don't Make me Think
- a common sense approach to Web usability; page 21
Web readers want information right now, so they:
- Speed through text at a few seconds per page
- Scan pages for quick information
- Are reluctant to scroll down
You can deliver information fast by:
- Talking directly to the reader (second person)
- Writing clear, concise, scannable pages
- Placing key information at the top of the page
- Linking to more detailed pages
Our publishing model is based on:
- Decentralized writing: Content partners in UCI departments write most of the text, using the Web publishing guide for consistency.
- Centralized editing: Your Snr. Editor provides editorial assistance to ensure accuracy and consistency.
- Specialized templates: A content management tool and text editor reduces the need to know XML and delivers a consistent look.
Starting to Write
- Delete unnecessary words
- Keep sentences short and simple
- One idea per paragraph
- Use subheads
- Bullet point
- Important information first – “inverted pyramid”
- Choose shorter words
- Use the active voice
- Identify your audience
- Three Esses – Simple Short and Scannable
- Tone: Content providers communicate in a friendly, conversational tone. Write directly to the reader, use contractions, and read your writing aloud to make sure it sounds like something you'd say.
- Voice: Voice represents the "person" who is speaking to the reader. Step into the correct persona when you write your site:
- Your website's voice is a knowledgeable colleague, a staff member who can clearly explain business processes.
- If you’re writing for students, the voice is an advisor, a trusted representative of UCI, someone who sits on the same side of the desk as the student to explain academic, financial, or other essential information.
Style guarantees consistency in capitalization, punctuation, and spelling. Is it "a.m." or "A.M."? "e-mail or ‘ email ‘ ? Use the Style guide to keep content consistent -