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Writing for the Web

Writing for the Web

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Writing for the Web

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  1. Writing for the Web

  2. Do humans read faster on the web or on print?

  3. The F Pattern Jakob Nielson 2006

  4. Implications of the F pattern • Users won't read your text thoroughly. • The first two paragraphs must state the most important information. • Start subheads, paragraphs, and bullet points with information-carrying words • Exercise: Phantom of the F

  5. Dilemma of Headlines

  6. Consider… “Nicks Nixes Flicks”? Dumb computers don’t get it.

  7. Also consider… “Green Bean Comes Marching Home”? What green bean? Ambiguity: Bad for SEO

  8. Ambiguity is NOT only an SEO problem… Farmer Bill Dies in House Iraqi Head Seeks Arms Kicking Baby Considered To Be Healthy

  9. Headlines should be… • Accurate • Informative • Invitational • Free of ambiguity

  10. Short sentences and paragraphs • Use concise sentences/short paragraphs to aid scanning • Use active voice mostly.

  11. Story structures

  12. Layered stories • Chunking: Breaking a complex story into easily understandable sections. • Encourage readers to proceed to the next chunk. • Use multimedia to complement text (or the other way around)

  13. China environment story • The structure? Advantages? • As an everyday reader, how would you read the story? Which parts would you read first? How does the structure work for your reading flow? • What strikes you the most in terms of narratives?

  14. China environment story

  15. Bullet points and lists • Use bullet points at the beginning of story by giving an overview of its main parts (example). • Use ordered (numbered) lists only when the order is important.

  16. Why hyperlinking?

  17. Quality, not quantity

  18. Main story links • Fit them naturally in the text • Avoid using “(click here)” • No more than 6 words • Information-heavy words (action-packed verbs and/or informational nouns) • Try to make clear where the link will lead readers to • Link to specific web pages, not the home page

  19. Link functionality and maintenance • Always test the links in your story before publishing • Make sure accessing the story doesn’t require subscription or special privilege. • Clear all browser cookies and access the link • Log out your account on the link’s website • Access the link outside your organization • Check and update links from time to time

  20. Four Questions for Hyperlining • Does the URL to which I am referring the reader reward him or her with additional content that a reader of this story likely did not know, or know how to get easily? • Does the text I am selecting to link this text give the reader an obvious clue as to what the hyperlinked page will contain? • Am I using the shortest possible amount of text to provide that clue? • Would the content of the linked text, or the context surrounding it, reasonably mislead the reader into believing that the linked page contains something other than what it does?