Web vs Print
Websites are different to hard copy publications:
- they convey the message worldwide, 24/7
- they can quickly be changed
- Computer screens are 80% more difficult to read than printed text so users scan information in an F-shape pattern rather than reading in a left to right linear pattern
- Print material converted to HTML web content does not necessarily need to be word-for-word. PDFs and Word documents must also be available as HTML content on a web page.
- Scan information
- Make quick judgements
- Don’t hang around long
- Read only what’s relevant
Writing for the web
Key points for producing good web content:
Some websites are full of content that no one uses, making it harder for people to find what they do need. It wastes your time too—time creating, publishing and maintaining it.
What is useful and what isn’t?
- improving usefulness
- planning a content strategy
- avoiding ROUT – Redundant, Outdated, Unwarranted and Trivial content
Web writers are not designers, but they do need to think about the ‘design’ of content. Making content easy to scan-read and quickly assess for value or relevance has a big impact on whether people will even bother trying to use it.
- structuring content
- using headings, paragraphs, lists, links and tables
Information architects and search engine optimisation experts specialise in making information findable. But web writers play a critical role too.
- how people find content online
- good techniques and tips for web content writers
- how Google and other search engines finds your content
A web writer’s role is not just to write, but to communicate. To do this successfully online, content must be easy to read.
- concise content writing - tone, words, sentences, verbs, pronouns, wordiness
Accessibility isn’t just the domain of designers and developers. Web writers have an important role to play. Refer to the Accessibility section below for more information.
Accessible content assists USC website visitors that have:
- older hardware that may not be able to download large files
- slow internet connections
- limited dial-up access
- assistive technologies such as screen readers and screen magnifiers
- adaptive technologies such as head wands
An accessible website also provides a user-friendly, intuitive design. Providing accessible content improves our search rankings on external search engines including Google and Bing.
Watch the Everyone is Different video for an introduction to accessibility.