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Web Team: Writing for the Web

Pages on your website should be written using three guidelines: conciseness, scannability, and objectivity. Using these three guidelines will make it faster and more effective for your target audience to process the information on your page.

  • Concise text contains less information to process.

  • Scannable text calls attention to key information.

  • Objective writing eliminates industry-specific jargon, making content easier to understand.

 

More tips on writing your webpage content

  • Web content must be brief and get to the point quickly, because users are likely to be on a specific mission. Web users want actionable content (to download a form, e-mail a director, etc.)

  • Users won't read your text thoroughly in a word-by-word manner. Yes, some people will read more, but most won't.

  • The first two paragraphs must state the most important information. There's some hope that users will actually read this material, though they'll probably read more of the first paragraph than the second.

  • Start subheads, paragraphs, and bullet points with information-carrying words that users will notice when scanning. They'll read the third word on a line much less often than the first two words.

 

For more information, see usability expert Jacob Nielson's research on writing for the web.




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