Advanced web-writing tips

Courtesy of Hoa Loranger, speaking at Nielsen/Norman Group's Usability

 Advanced web-writing tips

1. If you have sections designed for a specific group of people, write ‘For’ in front of that section. Eg don’t write:

Flu information centre

  • General public
  • Journalists
  • Healthcare professionals

Write instead:
Flu information centre

  • For general public
  • For journalists
  • For healthcare professionals

2. Sometimes, more – not less – is more. People don’t mind scrolling pages that are 2/3 full screens long if they are confident, from the information they’ve seen, what they want is there. Scrolling is easier for people than clicking

3. ‘Back to top’ links are overused – people know they just have to scroll to get back to the top.

4. People don’t change the zoom level when reading a PDF. They will just struggle to read the PDF at whatever level of magnification it opens at. A good reason to convert important information on PDFs into web pages

5. Always stick to convention when labelling as people are used to scanning for familiar terms. About us pages should always be About us or About . Not Our company or Team Acme Solutions or Meet the Guys!. And always write the official company name on the About us page – this is where journalists always look for (and often struggle to find) it.

6. Writing for younger audiences means writing for the web techniques are even more important. Young people often have laptops not desktops, which often means no mouse or printer, poor internet connections, poor sound, a smaller screen and sitting less comfortably when accessing content.