When writing for the Web, you first must consider how people read the Web. As Web usability expert Jakob Nielsen says bluntly, “they don’t.” The Web is different. Online readers scan webpages instead of reading every word. This guide will give you quick access to Web writing standards and formats to help you create successful—and consistently readable—Web content.
Writing for the Web is about making your writing easier to read and use, not dumbing down your ideas. Help readers by writing for on-screen reading:
Make sure the content you especially want your visitors to see is visible without scrolling.
Visitors will scroll, especially if they can tell there’s content that interests them lower on the page. It’s still a good idea to ensure that the first thing they see is the content you most want them to see!
Check how you organize your content and think about the proportions of each piece. A well-chosen image can convey your department’s unique character in an appealing way. However, placing a large picture at the top of your page hides your other content, making it less likely that users will scroll down to see it.
Authentic voice sounds true and genuine, the way we speak in a conversation. Readers pay attention and listen to writing that sounds like a person is talking. Use inviting and professional language. Write to your readers in the second-person narrative: Address your audience directly, using “you” and “your.”
Example: “Your research project, designed in conjunction with your faculty mentor, will match your interests and abilities with the needs of the research group. In our program, you will work on a project that interests you.”
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