Information = content

A Web site should:
  • answer a question or help complete a task
  • easy to find and understand
  • accurate, up to date, and credible
People skim, they do not read, Why?
  • too busy
  • trying to answer a question
  • trying to do a task
  • there is so much on the web that we only have time to be quick
Good web writing is a conversation. It answers questions and lets people grab and go.
Setup scenarios and personas to help understand your audience.
Read just the headings on the page - does it make sense.
Things to Do
  • Put important forms on the home page.
  • Put the forms high up on the page.
  • Put your search box at the top of your page.
  • A well-designed page should tell you what to do without reading.
  • Divide web content by task; by questions, people ask; type of info.
  • Writing in inverted pyramid style - most important at the top.
  • Reloading a page is hard for screen readers. Show/hide is better because there is no reload.
  • Make page elements obvious using patterns and alignment.
  • Keep headings from floating; put headings close to the text
  • People prefer sans serif on the web.
  • Always provide good contrast between text and background colour
  • Links can be embedded in the text but if you want people to finish reading, put the links at the end.
  • Make visited links change colour.
  • Read the writing. Check your links. Check your facts.
  • Use a consistent set of words (don't overuse the thesaurus).
  • Get feedback or have someone else read it.
  • Use style guide for consistency.


Why use lists?

  • Lists put active space around each item so people can skim.
  • Tables take away words that are not necessary so people can easily scan.
  • Use bullets that match the site but don't make people wonder if bullets have more meaning than they do.
  • Keep same sentence structure for list items

Present instructions as steps (even complex instructions)

  • Headings are the outline of your page
  • Headings can be the questions visitors ask..
  • Use action phrases in headings for instructions.
  • Use parallelism in your head. i.e. be consistent in your wording style
  • Use illustrations/pictures to help people visualize quantities and dimensions.


  • Use tables for comparing numbers
  • Use tables for series, of if, then sentences (left column)
  • Do not put same page links in left column navigation.
  • Same page links belong under the page title.

Let your writing rest before posting.

Bibliographical Information

Letting Go of the Words - Janice Redish
2007: Morgan Kaufman Publishers, New York
ISBN: 0-12-369486-8

These are notes I made after reading this book. See more book notes

Just to let you know, this page was last updated Thursday, May 23 24