Monday, January 7, 2008

Writing Content for the Web

Craig Borysowich (Chief Technology Tactician)

In contrast with written documentation, Web content is non-linear. Rather than reading through material sequentially, the target audience accesses each page on a Web site using hyperlinks. The user chooses a path for navigating the site and may at any time link to another site on the Web.


With this in mind, here are some general guidelines for creating Web content:

· Split the information into coherent chunks that can standalone and connect the information using hyperlinks.

· Be concise. Keep individual chunks (i.e., the pages) short. Aim for the equivalent of one to three printed pages of text for each Web page.

· Use nested headings, i.e., a general heading followed by sub-headings.

· Use meaningful names for the headings and for the title of the Web page. The titles and headings are indicative of the content within.

· Highlight keywords in the text using typeface variations or color for emphasis.

· Use bulleted lists.

· Present just one idea per paragraph of text.

· Avoid writing sentences using "click here" to designate a link. Write the sentence as you normally would and place the hyperlink next to the most relevant word in a sentence.

· Don't overuse hyperlinks. Incorporate the most important and relevant hyperlinks within the main body of the text. Add a section at the bottom of the document for additional links that may be of interest to the reader.

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