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.

But think about these facts:

• 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 know the terminology of another specialty - and many health care workers are not doctors. How broad is your web audience?

• The web is almost certainly bringing you a broader audience than you were communicating with on paper. Your Internet site is available to a global audience. As companies go global, even intranet sites must serve people from many countries. Many of your site visitors may not be native speakers of the language of your web site.

You should offer your web content in many languages and in culturally appropriate ways for audiences in other countries and for diverse audiences in your own country. Localizing web sites is an important topic, but it is beyond the scope of this book.

• In your own country, the audiences for your web site may include many immigrants who speak and read your language as their second, third, or fourth language.

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