Use your web users words

Think about your audience! is a good mantra on every level of web writing - deciding what content to cover, constructing sentences and paragraphs, and choosing words.

Your web users may not know words that are commonplace to you. How many web users are likely to understand the instruction for using the Search function on the Express Order site in Figure 8-24?

Some writers try to sound impressive by using big words. If those big words aren't ones your readers know, they won't be impressed. They'll give up on your web site and go to someone else who speaks their language.

Most web users associate ^ j "arguments" with a different context than searching.

Most web users associate ^ j "arguments" with a different context than searching.

Figure 8-24 This search interface is likely to confuse, not help, most web users.

Compare the words in two versions of information for parents on childhood asthma (Figures 8-25 and 8-26). Both say they are meant for parents, but one uses clinical, medical words; the other talks in ordinary people's words. Both have questions as headings, but one says, "What is the incidence of asthma?" and the other says, "How common is asthma in children?"

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ASTHMA IN CHILDREN

Wll.1I is JStlllllil?

Asthma is a chronic disorder that causes spasm of the airway leading to narrowing of me air passage and attacks of cough, wheeze ana hieatnlessness. The spasm may Occur due to exposure to allergens, chemical irritants, smoke, cold airan<f exercise.

Wli.Ttts trie uicMence ol .lstlnn.i? -

Would parents ask the questions this way?

Asthma tends to affect about 10% of children globally. Whiy certain patients are susceptible to asthma is slill not known.

Asthma due to allergy may also be associated with eczema, allergic rhinitis and allergic coniunctwitis. Also, allergic predisposition tends to run in families with inheritance between 40-60% Thus, though allergic predisposition maybe inherited, its manifestations may differ between parent and child

Wlt.it is the outcome of jstl 1111,1 m childhood?

Wheezing In the 1st 3 years On life is usually Benign and is due to small airways in early life As the airways grow, these children may become less prone to wheezing during viral Infections. However, asthma due lo allergic inheritance may persist later in life. Also severe asthma may also persist in adult life

How does .isthrn.i piesejti in a clitfii?

In children, rather than wheezing and bfealhlessness, cough is the predominant symptom. Cough may recurrent and may get aggravated during sleep and exercise.

How is childhood osttina diagnosed?

©What does "mainly a clinical diagnosis" mean?

Asthma in children is mainly a clinical diagnosis. Following symptoms may be suggestive of asthma:

• Recurrentepisodesofwheezing

• Recurrent cough - more troublesome at night

• Cough or wheeie alter exercise

• Breathing problems during a particular season-

/J^ The page does have f^^^ some useful features

Cough or wheeie after exposure to dust, smoke, perfume, animal fur Child's cold frequently affecting the chest and takes mote than 10 days to resolve question headings, short paragraphs, and a bulleted list.

Figure 8-25 This article on asthma in children is addressed to parents but uses doctors' language.

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J by paadiatnc fpeoaltrt ragif trar and Dr SUphgn coniultint pa«dk*trki«n what is an asthma attack? The mucous membranes in the small branches of the airways (bronchi) swell and the circular muscles contract ('spasm' or bronchospasm)"

More mucus is produced in the already restricted airways, which makes breathing a struggle. This usually produces a wheezing sound when breathing out.

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J by paadiatnc fpeoaltrt ragif trar and Dr SUphgn coniultint pa«dk*trki«n

About 1 to Z per cent of aJl children get chronic asthma during their childhood.

What symptoms in children can be due to asthma?

Small children (up to three years):

• a wheezing sound when breathing out

• coughing, wheezing or breathlessness with exercise

• prolonged coughing, not because of a cold, often worse at night

• generally feeling unwell

• recurrent colds from which it takes a long time to recover.

Children from 3 to 15 years:

• a wheezing sound when breathing out

• prolonged coughing, especially at night

• waking up coughing during the night or in the morning

• inactivity or lethargy - no longer wishing to play physical games or take other exercise when they have enjoyed this before-

How common is asthma in children?

• Chronic asthma is the most frequent long-term -

children's disease.

• About 1 to 2 per cent of all children get chronic asthma during their childhood,

• Approximately 15 to 20 per cent of all children will have symptoms of wheeze without having chronic asthma.

What causes asthma in children?

An acute asthma attack usually occurs at the time of a couqh and cold caused by a viral infection.

The text includes technical (Ujtermsin parenthesesafter the explanation. Some parents may want to understand those words - in case the doctor uses them.

©The bulleted lists make information easy to grab.

Figure 8-26 This article explains asthma in ordinary language.

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