Yesterday, I was explaining my new content writer Shaila about the writing style that we ( I mean most of the online community) prefer to get the key
information online. I’m sharing my thoughts here so as in turn I can get a few more insights on the style of writing on the web.
How Web Writing is Unique and how can we modify our writing style that suits to web audiences?
Skim-and-Scan Style of Web Readers: Web readers are hungry for instant gratification.
They search for most appealing segments of each page instead of spending time on a single page.
Reading Online is Difficult: Reading speeds are 25% slower on a monitor than on a paper.
1. Text is not easy to read On-Screen : reading on-screen is tiring on the eyes.
Monitor Screen Settings/ Quality vary, for example – Monitor displaying
graphics at 640 x 480 pixels, 800 x 600 and 1024 x 768 pixels.
Monitor Screens are typically in Landscape orientation, however traditional documents are in portrait orientation.
Web is Three-Dimensional: In the online world there is no beginning, middle or end.
• Content gathering
(CONTENT = RELEVANT TEXT + IMAGERY)
Process: Content gathering –> Compilation –> Analysis – >Development –> Authentication -> Implementation
Plan Navigation First
• Think about who your readers are and what path they will follow to get the key information
It will help you decide how much information you will actually write
and how much readers will access via links to other pages/sites.
Modify your Message Style and Format
Once a Navigational Structure is established, start with composing the gathered content in a style and format suitable for web.
• Be very concise: aim to reduce text by at least 50%
• Use plain English.
• Frontload headlines, paragraphs, links and lists.
• Use short sentences
• Use short paragraphs
• Use “you” and “we” whenever appropriate.
Adopt Inverted Pyramid Style
• Start every page with a unique, precise, explanatory headline.
• Follow with summary, description or key message of the page.
• Use frequent subheadings; write them like headlines.
• Limit page size to the equivalent of 5 A4 pages.
• On long pages, list subheadings at the top and bookmark them.
• On long pages, provide frequent links to the top.
• Restrict every page to a single topic and purpose.
Break Information into theme-related small Chunks
Break Information into independent chunks and connect them with hyperlinks.
Useful Device for presenting key points on a web page
• Slow down roving eyes
• Simplify Complex Subjects
• Highlight the Main Point
• Breakup the page Visually
• List items in the logical order for user.
• Limit number of items on a list to 7-10 maximum.
• Subdivide long lists into short lists of related items.
• Provide descriptive headings.
Help readers easily navigate the web document.
• Make link-text self-explanatory, so people know exactly what they will find when they click.
• Provide Context for the links
• If a link is to a page on another web site, say so.
• If a link opens a different type of file, state the type and size (e.g. PDF, 54 mb,).
• Place the links strategically
• Restrict image size.
• Provide alt-text for all images.
• Provide a long description for all complex images (e.g. charts and graphs).Older postNewer post