Writing for the web

08 Feb
Published by gtaylor


general open research

When writing our project descriptions and other posts to the site, we all need to keep in mind that we're communicating over the web.  This isn't the same as writing a paper for publication. 

Jakob Nielson, usability gu-ru, has written a piece on this and it's posted to Sun's web site.  I thought I'd share: Writing for the Web.  Some of it doesn't really apply to what we're doing but some does.  The points I think that are pertinent:

  • 79% of users scan while reading on the web only 16% read word-for-word (so what happened to the other 5?)
  • write for scanability - this means conclusions first, topics separated by headings, important things should be in lists
  • use simple sentence structures.  People are impatient when reading online and don't want to wade through long sentences

Sample Headings for a collaborative project:

  • Overview of the project 1-2 paragraphs
  • Who's Involved, gotta give credit where credit is due
  • Describe how others can get involved - make it actionable
  • More project details perhaps on the page or perhaps attached as ppts/word docs/ excel spreadsheet for issues and to-do tracking...