Market by giving useful information

On the web, you market best by giving users the factual information they want as easily and quickly as possible. Because web users see so much less at a time on the screen than on a piece of paper, there isn't the same room for non-factual happy talk as there is in a brochure or advertising flyer. And because web users are so often goal-oriented, they don't want to be distracted by information that isn't relevant to gathering up all the facts. In Figure 6-7, the credit union is using lots of...

A

Allowing adjustment to type size, 148, 257 alt text, 304-305 and on-page layering, 124 and PDFs, 89 and sans serif type, 145 blind users scan with their ears, 102, 320 for color-blind people, 156 importance of heading tags, 237 not use Click here, More, 320 of illustrations, 304 starting headings with a key word, 247 where to find requirements, 19 Acrobat Reader, 85, 90 Action, putting in verbs, 194-195 Action phrases as headings, 249-250 for links, 315 Active space, 137-140 Active voice,...

A useful home page is mostly links and short descriptions

A useful home page for both new and returning site visitors is almost all links with just a few brief descriptions to help people very quickly understand what the site is all about and to know which link to choose to move on. Look at Figure 3-8, which shows more of the Aspen Square home page. Where do your eyes go Did you look at the pictures first and scan the picture captions How much of the text did you read

A useful home page makes it instantly clear what the site is about

Look at Figure 3-6, the 2005 home page of SBC. Is it instantly clear what their business is Web sites must serve both those who already know the company and those who do not. Managers and staff inside a company are often so familiar with the company's history and business that they forget that other people are not. If a web site is going to help a company market itself successfully, it must speak to people who do not yet know the company. Can you tell what this company does A tag line might...

Add a short description if people need it or rewrite the link

Sometimes, you can't get enough in the link itself to help people Also see the related discussion understand what they will get by clicking on it. In that case, you can and examples in Chapter 4 on add a short description with the link. Look again at the CNN Money adding short descriptions to links. page. Each link describing a fear has a short description explaining what the article is going to tell you is the real danger. A short description may be the only way you can help site visitors...

Am I overloading my site visitors How long is the web page

We've just seen when you should break up web pages that cover many different topics. A web page on one topic can also be too long. Consider again the example at the beginning of this chapter the 32-page document on Weight Control and Diet. That's just too much for any person to absorb at once. Most people today do scroll vertically if the page layout indicates that the page continues. But they won't scroll forever. Think of three or four scrolls' worth as a maximum length for a web page. To...

Ask questions as headings when people come with questions

In many types of web content, questions work extremely well as headings. That's because site visitors come with questions in mind. When you write their questions as the headings in your web content, you acknowledge the conversation that they want to have with you. As I said back in Chapter 1, I'm not suggesting that you make your entire site a huge section of frequently asked questions. That would only make it hard for people to find their specific question. I'm suggesting questions and answers...

B

Back button, keeping people from needing, 65-66 Background of the screen dark, 154-155 good contrast between text and, 152-155 keeping clear so text is readable, 152 light, 152-154 Big picture, focusing on, 338-339 Blicq, Ron, 105 Blinking text or pictures, why to avoid, 296-299 Browsers, Acrobat Reader works differently from, 90 establishing personality to use for, 214-215 matching to one's site's personality, 212-216 meaning of, 215-216 using with links, 326

Bamboo is food and shelter

Statements (key messages) can work well as headings, Bamboo Is Die most important plant in a giant panda's life Pandas live in cold and rainy bamboo forests high in the mountains of western China They spend at least 12 hours each day eating bamboo. Because bamboo is so low in nutrients, pandas eat as much as 84 pounds (38 kilograms) of it each day Pandas grasp bamboo stalks with their five fingers and a special wristbone. then use their teeth to peel off the tough outer layers to reveal the...

Be as explicit as you can in the space you have and make more space if you need it

National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES, part of the U.S. Department of Education) had a link labeled Global ED Locator, usability testing showed that some people thought it led to a directory of department employees. In fact, it leads to databases of educational institutions - colleges, universities, and libraries. Making the label more explicit made all those databases much more available to site visitors. Figure 12-7 shows the relevant parts of the...

Be Understandable

Legal information abounds on the Internet - and in intranets and extranets. Many web sites need a page about privacy policies. Many include terms of use. And some sites focus on legal issues and legal documents. Letting go of the words and writing in plain language are as applicable to legal information as to other web content. Information can be legally accurate, legally sufficient, and also clear. In fact, these attributes support each other, and many sites now strive to write their legal...

Breaking up large documents

Most people come to the web for information, not for a complete document. They don't want the user manual they want instructions for the task they are doing. They don't want the handbook they want the answer to specific questions. They want usable, manageable pieces. Stable weight depend on an evert balance between titer ' intake from food arte energy expenditure Energy expenditure occurs diiwg the day si three ivtft As energy expended 1rest1 basal metabolism This accounts for about two-thirds...

Sc Honours Psychology Code B You need points Q Level Undergraduate

You need 360 points - short, simple, plain English words. From the writers' point of view, the essential message here is only 360. The writers assumed everyone would understand what the rest of the words mean. For anyone already enrolled at the university, that assumption is probably valid. Students know this is saying you need to accumulate 360 course points to get an undergraduate degree in this field (like credits to graduate with a major at a U. S. university). But Caroline and Whitney were...

Bulleted lists

Use lists to make information easy to grab. - Short (5-10 items) is necessary for unfamiliar lists. - Long may be okay for very familiar lists. Format lists to make them work well. - Eliminate the space between the introduction and the list. - Put a space between long items. - Wrap lines under each other, not under the bullet. Match bullets to your site's personality. - Work with colleagues to establish the personality to use for bullets. - Don't make people wonder if the bullets have more...

C

Capitals, not writing in all, 150-151 Case studies applying several guidelines to one paragraph, 199-200 breaking down walls of words, 107 Complex instructions, presenting as steps, 222 legal and clear privacy policies, 269-271 opening layers on same web page, 121 question headings and site visitors, 243-244 of layout and presentation, 33, 133, 134, 312, revising entire web article, 200-203 revising poorly designed web page, 156-161 summarizing archived paper documents, untangling convoluted...

Comparing sizes

Illustrations are a great way to help people compare and choose, especially when they need to visualize dimensions or quantities. pictures of paper documents for online tasks. This web site of a magazine f w ) does a good job of linking visually to its print edition while providing the articles in web format. This web site of a magazine f w ) does a good job of linking visually to its print edition while providing the articles in web format. The visual connection to the f J print version is...

Consider combining maps with lists

Maps are an excellent way to show geography, but they may not work as well as you assume. Your site visitors may not know the geography well enough to select appropriately not divide the overall map the way you do not recognize abbreviations you are using find it too difficult to click on small targets (especially true of your older web users) Combining a map with a textual list, allowing people to choose from either, as Lonely Planet does in Figure 11-13, may be a good solution that helps...

Consider starting with a key word for fast access and accessibility

Although questions work wonderfully well as headings for many types of web content, they have one downside. The key word in the heading is not at the beginning. If the question is short, sighted readers can see the key word quickly even if it is in the middle of the question. However, people who are listening to screen-readers may not get to the key word. They often skip rapidly from heading to heading, listening only to the first few words. A solution that may also help sighted readers who...

Consider the entire site when planning the design

From your site visitors' point of view, your home page, pathway pages, and information pages are all part of the same site. Your site visitors don't know - or care - that different people may be responsible for different parts of the site. To them, it's all part of the same experience -getting the information they need or buying the product they want. The design challenge is how to maintain patterns and alignment across different types of pages while making each type of page serve its purposes...

Consider your broad web audience

You may be saying We have special words that have specific meaning in our field. We have to use them. If everyone you are communicating with shares your technical language, then it's fine to use it. Most writers greatly overestimate the knowledge and vocabulary of even their professional audiences. A lawyer in one specialty may not know the terminology of another specialty - and people coming to the web for information about wills or leases may not be lawyers. A doctor in one specialty may not...

Content Content Content

compared prices on a new camera I'm thinking of buying read a few of my favorite blogs checked the Wikipedia entry for usability looked for information on a health topic for my elderly aunt What did you do on the web yesterday Were you just browsing around without any goal or were you looking for something specific Most people say something specific. They want to send a baby gift or arrange a trip. They need to reorder their favorite specialty food or download a software upgrade. They have a...

Contrasting lists and tables

Now that I have convinced you (I hope) of many good ways to use lists in your web content, let's turn to tables. Tables, like lists, are a great way to let go of the words that don't matter and let people grab the essential information. Think about the difference. What is a list What is a table When would you use each List Individual items, all in the same category of information. If a list wraps to a second column, the second column is a continuation of the list. The columns are a formatting...

Coordinate when you have multiple similar links

This is a guideline about more than writing or rewriting links. It's a guideline about using links to understand and improve the content on your site. Many organizations develop their web sites by allowing content owners in different departments to post information. If the same topic is covered in different departments, several explanations of the same topic may show up together as links on the web site. They may appear together on the same pathway page. They may all appear in search results....

Create a blog in easy steps

Create an account Name your blog Choose a template Figure 9-13 A colorful enticement to start a blog. www.blogger.com N Instructions work best as fjy numbered steps. 5. Use numbered lists for instructions 217 Always give instructions as a numbered list of the steps that people must do to complete the task. Figures 9-14 and 9-15, from eHow and Amazon.com, present numbered steps for instructions that are longer and more complex than the blogger.com example. C Oeai Instructions on Mow To Do (just...

Deciding how much to put on one web page

We've been looking at how to break your web content into pieces - by time or sequence, by task, by people, by type of information, and by the different questions that people ask. Once you have the pieces, you have to decide how many topics, articles, questions, or pieces of information to put together on one web page. One page or separate pages When faced with that decision, ask yourself these questions How much do people want in one visit How connected is the information Am I overloading my...

Designing Your Web Pages for Easy

When people come to a web page, they form an impression of the page before they read anything. They react first to the appearance (layout, fonts, colors, and so on). We all do this. You do it on other people's sites. People do it on your site. Creating that appearance (designing the web page) is about more than aesthetics. It's also about usability. The design of your web pages can help people find what they need and understand what they find. It can also hinder them. On successful web sites,...

Did it make a difference

The new portal allows people to get to what they need much more effectively and efficiently than the old one did. Here are some data points from usability testing Success with the new HHS portal site (16 people each doing 12 tasks 192 attempts) Getting off the home page onto a good path Getting off the next menu page still on a good path Completing the scenario successfully See Theofanos, Mulligan, and Redish, 2004, for more on changing the HHS portal site. Five of the tasks we asked people to...

Distinguish headings from text with type size and bold or color

To make all the headings (at all levels) obvious as your site visitors come to each of your web pages, use bold or color. Whatever you choose, use it consistently, and also consider these points Don't use blue for headings. Save blue for links. Many web users assume that anything in blue is a link, even if it is not underlined. In fact, don't use your web site's link color as a heading color. Your site visitors are likely to become confused between headings and links. Don't make the only...

Divide web content by time or sequence

In many situations, time or sequence is a good way to organize information something happens first, then something else, and so on. Figure 5-3, from Bank of America, shows a pathway page to a series of short articles on Home - Locations Contact Uc Help . Sign In The six headings give y J you a sense of the process - in time order -before you read the articles. Learn about the home buying process. Read the articles ii order or skip to the topic that interests you the most. ilfraais ui-Ifias...

Divide web content by type of information

How do I . . . defines one big set of questions people come to web sites to ask. How do I . . . questions are about tasks or procedures. People want the information as step-by-step instructions. Can I . . . May I . . . Must I . . . Why should I . . . and What do I need to know about . . . define another big set of questions. These questions are about rules, policies, concepts, and facts. People want the information as questions and answers or clear chunks of facts with good headings. For user...

Does it make a difference

A client let me test different styles in a usability study. We took a press release that had all the features in the table under typical and redrafted it to have the features under web-based information. For more on this study, see Redish, 2005. In one scenario of the usability test, participants got to a press release that we had not changed. In another scenario, they got to the one we had changed. (The two press releases were on different topics, but they were similar in length and level...

Dont annoy people with blinking rolling waving or wandering text or pictures

Paying attention to movement in our peripheral vision was a key survival skill when we shared space with lions on the savannah. On the web, however, movement is just plain annoying. It takes our eyes from the task we are trying to do. Don't make page elements blink or wave or roll or jump around gratuitously. 6. Don't annoy people with blinking, rolling, waving, or wandering text or pictures 297 Hmw I Restate centre I About u 1 Contact IA to ZI f mp j Cvmraae I I M...

Dont assume full screens at high resolution

Some web users still have small screens or work at low resolution. Those of us who work on large screens at high resolution - and I'm looking at what I'm typing on a 24-inch monitor at a screen resolution of 1900 x 1200 -tend to forget that most of the people who use what we develop aren't working in that environment. Most of your site visitors are probably working at 1024 x 768 but a sizable minority are still using 800 x 600 screens. (Summer 2006 About 20 percent of web users are still at 800...

Dont center text

I began this chapter talking about the importance of patterns and alignment. Centered text violates our need for pages with obvious alignment, clear places where different types of text start. Compare Figures 7-13 and 7-14. Figure 7-13 is the original, a pathway page from a university web site. Figure 7-14 is a revision, where the only difference is moving from centered text to left-aligned text. Text with each line centered is hard to read. Our eyes don't know how far back to come to start...

Dont center text in a table

Notice how the column headings and the information in each column of the table in Figure 9-29 line up on the left of the column. That works well. Aligning text on the left makes each column easy to scan. Centering interferes with scanning in tables just as it does in other parts of your web pages. In tables, set all column headings and columns with words flush left, ragged right. If you are giving numbers, line them up on a decimal tab. Here are key messages from Chapter 9

Dont dive deep keep to no more than two levels of headings below the page title

On the screen, you have less room to work with than on paper, so you can't have as deep a hierarchy of headings in a web article as you might in a typical book chapter. Web articles should be much shorter than a typical essay or book chapter. Very long articles should be broken into different sections on different web pages. Heading level 1 Heading level 1 Heading level 2 Heading level 2 Heading level 1 If you have a short article with short sections, a page title and then one level of headings...

Dont just slap headings into old content

Headings can be very helpful, but they can't save poorly written, poorly organized text. Going through existing content and putting in a heading every so often does not usually produce a good document. That's actually a good technique as a firststep in revision - a way to become more familiar with the content you are working with. But it's a terrible technique if you stop there. Whether you are writing new content or revising old content, if you find it difficult to write a heading for a...

Dont let text roll

Think of the older people in your audience. Think of people who need to magnify text to read it. Rolling text generally achieves the exact opposite of your purpose. It frustrates people rather than satisfying their needs. Even scrolling ticker tape is an outdated model, not appropriate for the web. Just because people are used to it in the world outside the web, doesn't make it the best way to present that data on the web. Why not just provide a database where people can...

Dont make new program and product names into links by themselves

Many organizations create new programs and new products with cute names. Once people know the name, it may make sense. It may even be memorable. But until people know what it means, it's meaningless to them. Why should people click on a link if they don't know what to expect Remember that your web site must serve new people not just those already in the know. Both The British Museum (Figure 12-1) and the Colorado Historical Society (Figure 12-2) have links to something called Compass. Would you...

Dont make people fill out forms they dont want

Starting people on forms they want on the home page is good. However, forcing people to fill out forms that they don't want - or before they are ready to give you the information - is likely to be counterproductive. Think carefully about the benefits and perils of asking for information when people are not ready to give it to you. If you ask too early, or you ask for too much, or you ask for information that people have to struggle to get for you, you risk losing more than you might gain....

Dont make people think

People want to get to the right web page quickly and efficiently. If they have to stop and think about what to do at each step along the pathway, it's not efficient - nor is it quick. They would rather click one or two more times than have to think along the way. Hmm. I could choose this one. Or this one. This is really frustrating Which is it under Hmm. I could choose this one. Or this one. This is really frustrating Which is it under The wording and the guideline come from Steve Krug's book,...

Dont make people wonder if the bullets have more meaning than they do

I had to spend a few minutes deciding that the abcteach site in Figure 9-12 is using colors randomly. If you use pictures as bullets, make sure that people can easily see and instantly understand the picture. People should not have to stop and think about bullets. Chapter 11 is all about guidelines for pictures. PopuUrt M*nft It hfrnth - Aft Atvvim - RitoFtfifi - TikNm Erwn - Cmtit iltfif - tih - kdtiii - Thtiwi S nt - PopuUrt M*nft It hfrnth - Aft Atvvim - RitoFtfifi - TikNm Erwn - Cmtit...

Dont make people wonder what or why

If your site visitors have to stop to figure out what you are showing or why you are showing it, the illustration has lost its value. An illustration must make its function and meaning immediately clear - even if that meaning is just to set the mood. The picture in Figure 11-19 is from a museum's web site. I found it so distracting - and spent so much time and effort trying to figure out what it represents - that I gave up on the museum's information without delving further into the site....

Dont make people wonder which link to click on

Site visitors want to think about their topic, their need - not about how you've put together your site. If people don't feel confident that you are helping them get to what they need, they might not feel confident that your information is credible or that you are a good firm to do business with. The web site in Figure 3-13 might make people who come to it unsure about going further. Lots of other sites offer car loans and ways to invest money. Busy web users might just go elsewhere rather than...

Dont put offpage links where people expect samepage links

Remember that people bring expectations to your web pages. They expect that a list of links within the content area at the top of a web page will take them to information on that page. Meet that expectation. Healthy Eyes your sight is precious to us Healthy Eyes your sight is precious to us How we see Looking after your sight Problems & HULSiiSiifl. KftffrWHKin -'r - - ESEML'iSiSS r r aiKii iMT-iijp T< si a< -m How to get the best out of this site How to get the best out of this site...

Dont put samepage links in the left navigation column

Just as users don't expect links at the top of the content area to go off the page, they don't expect links in the left navigation area to stay on the page. The left navigation is usually other topics that may be related, that may be in the same section of the web site, but that are not on the same web page. I was doing a usability test of a web site as the first step to revising the site. One of the pages that participants reached had a good set of questions and answers grouped by topic....

Dont reinvent

If you work in a large organization, first find out if other style guides already exist. If there is a corporate style guide, consider how applicable it is to your web site. Don't just ignore it. Work with whoever owns it to turn it into the organic, online style guide you need. Don't repeat the entire universe in your style guide. Many excellent general style guides exist for writing grammatical English. Pick one and have all the web writers agree to use it. Focus instead on what the web...

Dont write in all capitals

ALL CAPITALS TAKE UP 30 PERCENT MORE SPACE ON THE PAGE. THEY SLOW READING SPEED BY ABOUT 15 PERCENT. THEY ARE ALSO BORING. PEOPLE'S EYES GLAZE OVER, AND THEY TEND TO STOP READING. IN EMAIL AND ON THE WEB, PEOPLE THINK YOU ARE SHOUTING AT THEM WHEN YOU WRITE IN ALL CAPITALS. All capitals take up 30 percent more space on the page. They slow reading speed by about 15 percent. They are also boring. People's eyes glaze over, and they tend to stop reading. In email and on the web, people think you...

E

Editing own work, 330-335 Editor, working with, 338-339 Embedding links, 323-325 Emotions, 16-17 Empty alt text, 305 Environment, social and cultural, 18 Essential messages clarity of, 101-102, 185 cutting excess words and content, 98-100, 187 determining what is important to user, 94-97 layering information and, 114-118 length of paragraphs and, 107 marketing information and, 110-113 starting with key points, 102-106 using inverted pyramid style for, 102-106 use of lists and, 107 Eye-tracking,...

Eliminate the space between the introduction and the list

Plain HTML puts a line of space between the text before a list and the first item in the list. However, you want people to continue directly from the introduction into the list. Eliminate that extra space. Compare Figures 9-5 and 9-6 from an Australian mortgage company's web site. S The bold heading sits right over the text. - But the extra space before J the list makes the list float -in space. - Can you find me j home loan that suits my ciicninstances At Australian Mortgage and Finance we...

Emotions

In some situations, people's emotions are important user characteristics. Your users might be In Chapter 6, we'll consider writing for injured workers who are checking on their worker's compensation claims. What would you say about their emotional state Did you say Anxious, nervous, skeptical about whether the agency really wants to help them If reporters are one of your audiences, what would you put down for them Did you say Deadline-driven, impatient What about people seeking help with a...

Evaluate Read the headings to see what you have done

How do you know if you've got good headings Use this technique with both your old content before you revise and your new content when you have a draft. 1. Read just the headings on your web page - without any of the text that is under the headings. Do you understand what each heading means by itself Do the headings tell a coherent story Do they flow logically from one to the next Do they successfully give you a big picture Can you get the gist of all the information from the headings Do they...

Even in very serious writing busy web users need sentences they can understand easily

Simple, short, and straightforward sentences are critical for serious topics. In fact, the more complex the topic, the more you need to be sure that you are writing in a clear, coherent way so that your web site visitors understand your essential messages. Figure 8-18 shows how the writers at Revenue Canada use short, active sentences to explain what a corporation is and that corporations must pay tax. Canada Revenue Agence du revenu H I Agency du Car-ada Canada Revenue Agence du revenu H I...

Everything on your web site should fulfill a scenario

Everything on your web site should relate to at least one scenario that a real user might have for coming to the web site. (You do not need to have actually written the scenario for every piece of content, but there should be a plausible one that you could write.) If no one needs or wants the information - if there is no plausible scenario for the content - why have it on the web site It's only taking up server space and perhaps showing up in search results where it distracts people from what...

Experience expertise

Consider your site visitors' experience and expertise in both the subject matter and in using the web. You may have differences here for different user groups. (You may also have a range of experience or expertise within a user group note that, too.) Experienced travelers Probably familiar with other travel sites probably know how e-tickets work may know airport codes of places they travel to frequently want fast ways of working - probably need little explanation at each step Occasional...

Exploit the power of parallelism

In Chapter 9, you saw the power of parallelism in lists. In the same way that it works for lists, using the same sentence structure (the same pattern) for your headings helps people scan and grab information from your web pages. Everyone loves wallpaper Preparation Removal of wallpaper Straight line marking Cutting the wallpaper Wallpaper soaking Hang the first sheet Getting ready Preparing the walls Removing old wallpaper Marking a straight line Cutting the wallpaper Soaking the wallpaper...

F

See Food and Drug Administration (FDA) getting online, 336 paying attention to, 337 Final web pages, getting from draft to, 329-348 Flash, 300-304 Fluid layout, 149-150 Font, sans serif, 144-146 Fonts and types families, 144 Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 119 Forms filling and not filling out, 44 and home pages, 41 how people access, 108 directing users to internal pages, 44-45 information on fields on online, 279 as explanation of site's purpose, 36-37 Full articles, layering from...

Finding the underlying sentence in all these tangles

Let's untangle the overstuffed sentence by finding the subject, verb, and object of the sentence. 6. Give extra information its own place 189 subject Interested persons, on or before June 15, 2007, may submit to the Hearing Clerk, 1000 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20000, written comments regarding this proposal. Now you can see that the writer has stuffed the date between the subject and the verb and the address between the verb and the object.

For purely decorative graphics use empty alt text

You don't have to describe every piece of decoration on the page. In fact, hearing decorative bullet over and over greatly annoyed the blind web users that Mary Theofanos and I worked with. All they wanted to hear was the words after the bullet. But if you want your site to do well on an automated test for accessibility, you must put alt text on every graphic. The solution is to use an empty alt attribute when the graphic has no content to describe alt .

Foreword

I have to admit that when Ginny Redish first mentioned that she was thinking of doing a book about writing for the web, my first reaction was a sense of extreme personal relief. For years, I'd really wanted to read a great book about writing for the web, and for years, one hadn't appeared. There were some very good books about it, but not the book I was waiting for the one that explained how writing for the web is really different, and why, and exactly what to do about it. This missing book was...

Format lists to make them work well

The way you present lists can help or hinder people from using them easily. You want people to be able to connect the list with its introduction, see at a glance that you are giving a list, and find each list item easily. To help users do that, eliminate the space between the introduction and the list put a space between long items wrap lines under each other, not under the bullet If some of your web users want to print the list, don't put it in a drop-down box. For printing, put a long list in...

Gather information about your audiences

You can start to understand your audiences by thinking about them. But that's not enough. To really understand who they are, why they come, what they need, and how to write web content for them, you have to know them and their realities. If you write your web content only on what you think your audiences are like, you will be writing from assumptions. If your assumptions are wrong, your content won't work. Here are several suggestions for finding out about your audiences. Try to do them all the...

Get feedback online

In addition to traditional ways of sharing drafts (for example, emailing the draft or a link to the draft to people or distributing the draft to an internal group through your content management system), consider how the Internet can help you get feedback on your content. You can have contact us options, email to the webmaster, private feedback to the author, reviews, public comments that are really an open conversation among your readers, and so on. These may be moderated or not threaded and...

Getting There Pathway Pages

From home pages, let's continue on to thinking about the content for your pathway pages. Information page scan and get information Information page scan and get information Information page scan and get information Information page scan and get information The key message of this chapter is that your busy site visitors are trying to get to the good stuff - to whatever they are looking for - as quickly as possible. They don't want to stop and read on the way. They are still navigating. They...

Getting useful information from reviewers

Stay in touch with your reviewers, without overdoing it. Tell reviewers when the schedule changes Schedules change. If a change affects when you will get material to your reviewers, let them know. Negotiate with them on new dates. Don't just assume they can accommodate every slip in the schedule. Give reviewers a heads up a few days in advance Everyone on your web team is overly busy, including your reviewers. Remind them when you are about to send a draft. It's frustrating to expect a...

Giant pandas are black and white and loved all over

The giant panda is a national treasure In China and is therefore protected by law This unique bear has long been revered by the Chinese and can be found in Chinese art dating back thousands of years. The Chinese call their beloved pandas large tear-cats. People outside of China have been fascinated by giant pandas since they were first described by French Missionary Pere Armand David in 1869. Now. more than 100 years later, the worldwide love for pandas has been combined with international...

Giant pandas face big problems

Today, only around 1.600 giant pandas survive on Earth. There are several reasons why pandas are endangered Vocal pandas is not a question or a statement. It doesn't give us nearly as much information as the statements over other sections. To match the other headings around it, this could be Pandas don't The writer uses a second level of headings sparingly. And there's a matching heading on the next paragraph. Low reproductive rate Pandas like to be by themselves most of 'h i o r anri Ih w...

Giant pandas start out small

Giant pandas are black and white and loved all over looks like a heading. But it isn't functioning as one because it doesn't tell us what the following paragraph is about. It's more of a tag line for the whole article. The question heading draws ( J people into the text. If you use a question as a heading, be sure to answer the question in the text that follows. I'm not sure why the writer ( switched from questions to statements. Perhaps having drawn readers in with a few questions, the writer...

Give even complex instructions as steps

Instructions are not always a straightforward list where everyone must do all the steps. Sometimes, you have to explain branching - where the next step depends on which of two or more conditions are true. You can still present clear instructions even for complex situations. Consider Figures 9-18 and 9-19, where I suggest a revision to the eHow instructions on removing wine stains from fabric. If the process is very long and complex, think about it as a little web site rather than as one web...

Give extra information its own place

In English, once we find the subject of the sentence (the noun or pronoun at the beginning), we expect to find the verb close by. If extra information takes us off on a tangent, we may lose track of what the sentence is all about. When the extra information ends, and we are back in the main sentence, we may get back on track - and then forget the tangential information. Don't put extra stuff between the subject and the verb. Case Study 8-1, Untangling a convoluted sentence, shows you both how...

Give people only what they need

A good mantra for the web is less is more. What do your site visitors want to know Need to know Do they really care about the entire history of your project Probably not. Do they care about the detailed legal reference for your right to ask them for information Probably not. Do they want to hear how much you welcome them before you show them what you have to offer at what price Probably not. That content may be important to you, but if it isn't important to your site visitors, drop it entirely,...

Good headings help readers in many ways

The purpose of a heading is to help communicate the content that is under the heading. Well-written headings in well-organized text help readers by helping them get a quick overview of what is on the page setting the context for each section helping them make sense of what follows facilitating scanning so that they can find the section they need separating sections, putting a little space on the page making the information seem less dense and more readable

Good web writing is like a conversation

Think of your web content as your part of a conversation - not a rambling dialogue but a focused conversation started by a very busy person. Caroline Jarrett's three-layer model of forms as relationship, conversation, appearance is as relevant to web sites as it is to forms. See www.formsthatwork.com. How often does someone come to your web site to ask a question How do I . . . Where do I find out about . . . May I . . . . In many cases, web sites are replacing phones. In many cases, the point...

Have someone copy edit for you

Copy editing, on the other hand, is looking at the little picture - the nitty-gritty details of grammar, spelling, and punctuation. The best copy editors are very detail-oriented. They read the words and sentences very carefully. Great copy editors are good spellers. They know the conventions of grammar and punctuation. If they are part of an organization, they are familiar with the organization's style. Copy editors can save you lots of embarrassment and greatly improve your work. They may...

Have someone focus on the big picture with you

The big picture editor focuses on audience, appropriateness of the Professional writers always have content, overall organization, and coherence throughout the writing. editors to help them. A big picture editor should start by asking What are you trying to achieve How will those people use what you are writing What are they coming to your web site to do What are their scenarios With the answers to those questions, the big picture editor should read and comment on how well you have made your...

Hcsjibdityfirst md ajpatjUcG to stay

All Units Now Feature Air-Conditioning Aspen. Colorado's Summer Season is here, and tne time Is right to make plans to visit the Aspen Square Hotel and see what the warm weather months are all about in Aspenl There is so much to do and see in Aspen when the winler snows disappear. Summer Information is right here Get more timely Aspen news Check out our Daily News, the Live Web Cam, our ftsoen Logging Specials and the latestwealher and activity information. For Aspen accommodations, look no...

Help people jump to the topic they need with samepage links

If your web page has several topics with a heading over each topic, you might make those headings into a table of contents at the top of the page. A short table of contents at the top of a web page helps people get a quick overview of what's on the page jump to a specific part of the page if they want just that part Figure 10-15 is a good example of same-page links from a U. K. group that is very concerned about making its web site easy to use. (Thanks to Tom Brinck for suggesting this...

Help people make connections between information on paper documents and fields on online forms

You can help people by showing them where on a card or paper document the information you want from them is located. When e-commerce sites started requiring the security code from credit cards as well as the number and expiration date, many sites included a picture of the back of the card to show people where to find the code. The state of New Jersey sends car owners a paper document to remind them to renew their vehicle registration. The paper document includes a personal identification number...

Helping people get a sense of what the site is all about

Many people coming to your site for the first time want to know Whose site is this (Did I get where I thought I was going ) Who are these people (if I don't already know that) What is this site all about (What do they have What can I do here ) But they want to grab that information quickly because they also want to know How do I keep going on the question or task that brought me here Return visitors often just do a quick check to be sure they are on the right site and, perhaps, to see if...

Home pages the minute minitour

Multipurpose Our focus in this chapter Multipurpose Our focus in this chapter Pathway page scan, select, and move on Pathway page scan, select, and move on Information page scan and get information Information page scan and get information Most people read very little on the home page. They want to grab the information they need and move on because what they need from the site is almost always beyond the home page. Home pages can be content-rich, but they must not be wordy. In the rest of this...

HotyUlSiyfirst tidt jrttJtLcc to ftxj

Aspen, Colorado, the renowned mountain resort, shines even when the snow is gone Come visit. Summer Information Daily News Live Weh Cam Aspen Lodging Specials Weather Aspen's most convenient condominium hotel at the base of Aspen Mountain is Aspen Square Hotel just steps from the Silver Queen Gondola outstanding restaurants unique shops art galleries comfortable living room and private balcony At Aspen Square Hotel, you also get concierge services heated pool and liot tub health club Aspen...

How did the site do on our five functions

The site failed on all five of the functions we discussed in this chapter Identifying the site, establishing the brand People could name the department from the top of the page, but they had no sense of brand. They didn't know what topics or agencies were part of HHS. Setting the tone and personality of the site The news in the center of the home page made people feel that the site was there to disseminate news, not to help them with information - not the tone or personality the site's owners...

How do personas work with a web team

Personas become members of your web team. Figure 2-3 shows how one team keeps their persona in clear view as they work. They can turn to her and ask her what path she would take to get to information or how she would do a task in what they are developing. Instead of talking generically about users for your web content, you start talking about your personas by name. Will Matthew be able to find this information about his insurance policy What will Edith do if she has a question about her...

How much do people want in one visit How connected is the information

I see many web pages where topics are stacked together on one web page when they are answers to different questions that different people ask at different times. The topics fit together from the organization's point of view, but the web user wants only one when visiting the site. For example, you can see in Figure 5-11 that Dymocks, an Australian bookseller, has all of its customer service information in one file - one long web page. Whether you are looking for the company's privacy policy, how...

Identifying the site establishing the brand

Your site's logo, name, and tag line identify it. Don't use a paragraph to For more on tag lines and other explain the site. Don't put paragraph-long mission statements on the aspects of home pages, pathway home page. Most people won't read them. pages, and navigation, see Krug, Instead, encapsulate your company's or organization's mission in a memorable tag line - a short phrase that tells people how to think about the site. Consider Figure 3-1, the top of the Aspen Square Hotel's home page....

If people are just browsing embedding may be okay

Most Wikipedia articles are full of embedded links. The page in Figure 12-16 is just one of thousands of examples I could have selected from Wikipedia.org. Does having many embedded links work for Wikipedia articles because people most often come to Wikipedia in browsing mode Are they eager to see how a topic branches and connects to many other topics Your continued donations keep Wikipwfa running From Wikipedia, live free encyclopedia For other uses, see Wiki (disambiguation). A wiki (IPA f...

If you are writing for an organization use we

When you are writing for an organization, use the plural pronouns we, us, our. Most web sites do this at least on the Contact Us page, as Lego does in Figure 8-10. You should use we, us, and our throughout the site, not just on the Contact Us page. A major goal of most web sites is to have people get information for themselves without calling or using a live chat option. The more you do to make your site visitors feel that you are in the conversation with them on all your web pages, the more...

If you are writing your own articles I is fine

You may be the sole author of an article or opinion piece or a story. I is appropriate it's your voice as author your voice in the conversation with the people coming to see what you are saying. In Figure 8-9, Lou Manfredini makes ladder safety very personal. Mth care, you wont be heading tor a fall this fall By Lou Manfadiai Hove you ever fallen off a ladder I have, several times, and I can tel you it is not fun. In a web article with an individual author's name the author's voice works...

If you use bullets with links make them active too

Let's end the chapter with two short sections on formatting. I thought this was a link. Why can't I click on the little arrows here - njtjutfst D.barg .ana aa. sr. fttfliftian f en . . nur- r nr K .' - -.n nr I---------- * I ------- W < -< ** T- In usability test after usability test, I've watched frustrated web users try to click on bullets rather than on the words next to the bullet. Whenever you use bullets next to links, make the bullets clickable, too.

In some cases offer both versions

If some site visitors want information on the screen and others want entire documents, offer both. Many sites do. When you link to a PDF, tell people that's what they are getting and how large it is or how long it will take to download. Figure 5-15 shows you how employees at the U. S. Federal Aviation Administration can choose to download a PDF of their entire web content standards or get an HTML page on specific topics in the standards. Here are key messages from Chapter 5 Think topics, not...

Its based in a usercentered design process

User-centered design is a process for creating products that work well for their users. When you practice user-centered design, you focus on people their goals, their needs, their ways of working, and their environments. User-centered design means that you are using technology to help people achieve their goals in ways that work for them. The concepts and processes of user-centered design flow through this book. My goal is to help you develop a usable and useful web site for your audiences....

Its full of examples

I know you want examples, so I've included lots of screen shots. (It's smart to want examples it's easier to understand a point if you can see it as well as read about it.) In many cases, I've also shown how I might revise the web page. In consulting projects, of course, I work closely with the subject matter experts to be sure that the final writing is accurate and consistent with the web site's personality and style. Here, I've shown what I might do because I have not worked with every web...

Janice Ginny Redish

AMSTERDAM BOSTON HEIDELBERG LONDON NEW YORK OXFORD PARIS SAN DIEGO SAN FRANCISCO SINGAPORE SYDNEY TOKYO Morgan Kaufmann Publishers is an imprint of Elsevier Publisher Diane D. Cerra Publishing Services Manager George Morrison Project Manager Marilyn E. Rash Cover Design Yvo Riezebos Design Composition Production Graphic World Inc. Interior and Cover Printer Hing Yip Printing Co., Ltd. Morgan Kaufmann Publishers is an imprint of Elsevier. 500 Sansome Street, Suite 400, San Francisco, CA 94111...

Keep the questions short

When you use questions as headings, people often skim the question just enough to decide, yes, that's what I want to know. After all, the real meat of the web content is the answer to the question and people are anxious to get to it. Long questions take up precious space on the web page. Also, as headings, the questions are in bold or color, and large blocks of bold or color become difficult to read. And - despite the power of headings - some site visitors use the headings only as landing spots...

L

Avoiding archaic legal, 266-268 avoiding technical, 265 Large documents, breaking up, 69-80 break web content into topics and subtopics, 73-80 think topic, not book, 70-73 Launch, process that moves from plan to, 135-136 Layering from brief description to full article, 114 from main article to other information on web pages, 114-116 opening on same web page, 121 from part of page to short explanation, 116-118 Layout. See Design Legal information avoiding archaic legal language, 266-268 avoiding...

Layer information to help web users

Layering is a way of dividing web information. When done well, it's a great way to keep web users from being overwhelmed by too much at once help different web users each get the amount of information that they want on a topic To close this chapter, let's look at three typical examples of layering on web sites and then at two case studies that might give you new ideas for using layering in your web site. Layering from a brief description to the full article Many web sites entice site visitors...

Learning from this case study

A sentence with many commas probably has extra information stuffed into it. This case study shows us how to untangle sentences like this. Think of your web users and how and when they will use each piece of information. If people need different pieces of the information at different times, separate those pieces. Keep the main parts of the sentence (subject, verb, object) together. Pull out extra information and make each piece its own sentence. Consider using visuals, fragments, and lists where...

Leave in enough to be clear

As you write and revise web content, remember that you are conversing with real people. Those people bring all of their previous experience and knowledge - and also their lack of experience and knowledge - to understanding what you are writing. It is possible to cut so many words that you leave out information that people need in order to understand your messages. Caroline Jarrett and Whitney Quesenbery learned this important lesson when usability testing The Open University's web site. Here's...

Links

This book is about information on the web much more than it is about getting around on web sites (web navigation). But navigation is also critical. You've seen many examples of links throughout the book, especially in Chapter 3 on home pages, in Chapter 4 on pathway pages, and in the section on same-page links in Chapter 10 on headings. And I've promised several times to cover how to write meaningful, useful links. That's what this chapter is about. Pathway page scan, select, and move on...

List your major audiences

One way to list your major audiences is to ask How do people identify themselves with regard to my web content For example patients, health care professionals, researchers parents, teachers, students passengers, pilots, mechanics, airport operators Another way is to ask What about my site visitors will help me know what content the web site needs and how to write that content This may lead to listing your audiences as experienced travelers, occasional travelers local residents, tourists coming...