Aims By the end of this workshop you should be able to say- • why reading on screen is more difficult than on paper • produce text for the screen that is easy and interesting to read
What’s different about reading on the web? Reading conditions not as good as the printed page : • screen flicker - causing eye strain • lower resolution - less text can be seen • monitors aren’t as portable or flexible as paper – can’t read sitting on the sofa or on the tube. • text in a book is 277 times sharper
What’s different about reading on the web? This means users – • read 25% slower than in print • scan text rather than read from beginning to end (79% of web users scan pages) • have short attention spans • easily become impatient if they can’t find what they are looking for.
So what do you need to do? • Plan - What are you hoping to achieve? • Style - conversational • Help them scan • Check your words • Paragraphs • Be concise - every word has to fight for it’s life Always aim for the message to be understood without word for word reading
Be concise • “Get rid of half the words on each page, then get rid of half of what’s left.” • Most important information at the top. • Avoid scrolling • Use contractions
Avoid unnecessary content Most web users won’t bother reading 'welcome' messages like : “Welcome to this great new area of the web site. These fascinating pages are designed to show you all the really interesting and important work that Friends of the Earth local groups are doing all around England, Wales and Northern Ireland (and also the Channel Islands and Isle of Man)”
Size matters Words • Don’t use words over 10 letters long. • Avoid using more than one long word in any sentence.
Size matters Sentences • Try to have no more than 20 words in one sentence. • Don’t let a sentence run over 2 lines. • Try to vary sentence length.
Size matters Paragraphs • Try to vary paragraph length. • Avoid having more than 3 sentences in any one paragraph. • Never have more than 30 or 40 words in one paragraph. • Use one idea per paragraph
Headings Bad headlines Prince Charles launches International Sustainability Unit Marine Programme report into sustainable fishing From tomorrow, high pressure and freezing conditions will return to Britain According to research, two-thirds of environmentalists think Chris Huhne has done his job wellLib Dem minister Ed Davey named the new energy and climate change secretary Better headlines Royal approval for sustainable fish Temperatures set to plunge again Chris Huhne: most greens ‘think he has done well’ Ed Davey is new energy secretary
Images Bad images
Numbers • Use % not percent. • Use numbers instead of words e.g. 10% • Don’t use numbers if you don’t have to e.g. use half instead of 50% )
Useful tips • Avoid jargon • Explain acronyms • Avoid puns • Search Engine Optimization
Links • doesn’t work with screen readers • helps scanning • don’t need to tell people what to do
Links So instead of : To find out more about the Final Demand campaign, click here, Find out more about the Final Demand campaign or even just More about the Final Demand campaign
Bolding • Use to help scanning • Don’t overuse
Italics, underlining and CAPITALS • Italic is difficult to read on screen. • CAPITALS MAKE IT LOOK LIKE YOU’RE SHOUTING. • Underlining is confusing
Example During the last five years it has been revealed through surveys that the number of Americans killed annually in car accidents has climbed to more than 55,000. This needless slaughter on streets and highways can be attributed to three general causes. Mechanical failures, especially those related to faulty brakes and bald tyres, account for a significant number of fatal accidents. Environmental conditions such as blind corners, narrow streets, heavy fog, intermittent rain or snow resulting in slippery roads also contribute to the grisly accident statistics. But without doubt the most frequently reported factors in car accidents are errors of human judgement ‑ all the way from such follies as excessive speed and drunken driving to such momentary lapses as failure to signal a turn or a change from one lane to another. The man behind the wheel is often his own worst enemy.
Example Rise in road deaths Over 55,000 Americans are killed in car accidents each year, according to surveys carried out in the last five years. The main cause is error of judgement ‑ from excessive speed and drunken driving to failure to signal. Other causes are • Mechanical failure ‑ especially faulty brakes and bald tyres • Environmental conditions ‑ blind corners, narrow streets, heavy fog and slippery roads