User Behavior Only 16% of people read web content word for word.
Top Tips • highlighted keywords (hypertext links serve as one form of highlighting; typeface variations and color are others) • meaningful sub-headings (not "clever" ones) • bulleted lists • one idea per paragraph (users will skip over any additional ideas if they are not caught by the first few words in the paragraph) • the inverted pyramid style, starting with the conclusion • half the word count (or less) than conventional writing
Short Introductions • What? (What will users find on this page — i.e., what's its function?) • Why? (Why should they care — i.e., what's in it for them?)
Inverted Pyramids Start with the conclusion and 1 or 2 examples
First 2 words • Users scan first 11 characters of words in lists • Passive voice is ok • Numerals are ok • Avoid repeating any headline words in the summary, except for the most important one or two keywords. You can repeat these halfway through the summary to reinforce them for people who scanned past them in the headline.
Word Choice • Use Old Words When Writing for Findability • Familiar words spring to mind when users create their search queries. If your writing favors made-up terms over legacy words, users won't find your site. • Precise words are often better than short words, which can be too broad to accurately describe the user's problem • Supplement made-up words with known words. • Play down marketese and internal vocabulary. • Supplement brand names with generic terms. • Avoid "politically correct" terminology.
Print vs Web • Linear vs. non-linear • Author-driven vs. reader-driven • Storytelling vs. ruthless pursuit of actionable content • Anecdotal examples vs. comprehensive data • Sentences vs. fragments
Low Literacy Users • Low-literacy users either read word for word or satisfice • Avoid text that moves or changes (no scroll) • Streamline page design • Simplify navigation • Optimize search • Home – 6th grade reading level; other 8th • Use a tolerant search
Teens • Many misconceptions - technowizards who like very flashy sites • When using websites, teenagers have a lower success rate than adults and they're also easily bored. To work for teens, websites must be simple – but not childish – and supply plenty of interactive features.
Library Users Library Terms that Users Understand http://www.jkup.net/terms.html
In Practice Continuously check your copy Collaborate
Further Reading http://www.useit.com/papers/webwriting/