Dont number list items if they are not steps and people might confuse them with steps

In a procedure, people work through the list of numbered steps in order. In other lists, you may be telling people that they have a choice among different ways of doing something. If you use numbers for both procedures and other lists, you risk confusing your site visitors. They may not realize that the second type of list is showing alternatives; they make think they have a procedure and have to do it all.

Compare two pages from the Land's End web site. Figure 9-20 is about returning items if you are in Hong Kong. Figure 9-21 is the comparable page for returning items within the U.S. Both use numbered lists, but the numbering has different meanings on the two pages.



1J300-963-4816 Customer Service Shopping Bag

Shoppers returning items ( from Hong Kong must follow all four of these instructions.

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Returning Items from Hang Kong:

1. Examine your 3-section packing slip.

Keep the Order summary for your records. Send the Return Form along with your returned items. Use the Return Label on the outside of your parcel,

2. If you return a gift you received, please teH us the name and address of the person who gave it to you. (Providing this information will help us keep your return confidential.)

3. Let us know how to handle your return.

To reorder, send the packing slip reorder section back with your return.

For a refund, indicate on your Return Form whether you prefer a check, a credit to your credit card, or a Gift Card in the amount of your credit due. (Note: Gift Cards are redeemable by phone, by fax or for payment when ordering products directly from our Web site.)

4. Return your parcel to us at:

Lands' End Returns 6/F, Two Harbourfront 18 Tak Fung St., Hunghom Kowloon, Hong Kong

Returns by country

From US

Ecttm. Canada

From Hong Kong

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Figure 9-20 A numbered list is appropriate here because the four list items are steps in a process.

It's interesting how often I see both great writing and poor writing on the same web site. Different writers? Perhaps. But then, sometimes, I see information that's great and not so great even on the same page. The

9. Don't number list items if they are not steps and people might confuse them with steps 225

same Land's End page that may cause confusion for shoppers at the top of the page (Figure 9-21) has a wonderful example of good instructions for reordering further down the page (Figure 9-22).



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Shoppers may be confused

('Aj the Hong Kong page - like by this list. It looks just like three steps. In fact, it is three alternative options.

The writer might have helped f \ shoppers more by

• saying at the top of the page that shoppers have three ways of returning items.

1 using a bulleted list rather than a numbered list for the three options.

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Returning Items Within the US:

1. Return Internet or catalog orders at a Sears store.

Just follow these guidelines:

• Bring the Lands' End items you wish to return to any participating sears store where Lands' End merchandise is sold.

« Mate sure to bring the original packing slip for the items you wish to return.

* Vou will receive a return confirmation from Sears -Lands' End will then either credit your card, issue a refund check, or send you a Lands' End gift card, as you choose.

Please Mote: Sears cannot accept exchanges or returns from Lands' End stores., or Lends' End Business Outfitters.

2. use our Easy Return label for a flat fee of $6.50.

Securely package your return, include the Return Form, and affix the Easy Return shipping label found on your packing slip. Pay no postage up front - a flat fee of $6.SO will be deducted from the amount of your refund. Simply give the package to your mail carrier or drop it off at any U.S. Post Office or collection box.

please note: Not all orders are eligible for the Easy Return label service.

If your packing slip does not have one, use return methods 1 or 3.

3. Send your return to us with the shipper of your choice. Securely package your return including the Return Form, and send to;

Reiutns by counlry

From US

From Canada from Hong Kong From laoar. From <11 other countries From Auttralia From Mew Zealand from sinoaporft

Figure 9-21 People may be confused by a numbered list when they are expecting steps but are getting alternative options. People tend to start Step 1 without reading the entire list. In this case, they may try to find a Sears store when the Easy Return method might, in fact, be easier for them.

Want to reorder?

You have a choice:

• Send us your reorder with your return,

• Fax us your completed packing slip reorder section at 1-800-332-0103.

Figure 9-22 This piece from the same Land's End web page as Figure 9-21 is a good example of how to tell people about options. (One small fix: The fax number should wrap under the bullet so that the bullets stand out.)

When giving options, tell ( ^J people they have a choice. Give them the choices as a bulleted list (not as a numbered list).

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