Here's a list of the ideas we stress, with
the guidelines for web writing that works, to serve as a job aid.
For a printable one-page sheet, use the
Idea #1: Trim that Text!
1a. Cut any paper-based text by 50%.
1b. Make each paragraph short.
1c. Delete marketing fluff.
1d. Move vital but tangential or supplemental material.
1e. Convert repeating categories of information into tables.
1f. Beware of cutting so far that you make the text ambiguous.
Idea #2: Make
2a. Create a meaningful title.
2b. Insert meaningful headlines and subheads.
2c. Highlight keywords and phrases-and links.
2d. Turn any list into a bulleted or numbered list.
Idea #3: Cook up Hot Links
3a. Make clear what the user will get from the link.
3b. Within a sentence, make the link the emphatic element.
3c. Shift focus from the links or linked-to documents to the subject.
3d. Provide depth and breadth through plentiful links to related
information within your site.
3e. Establish credibility by offering outbound links.
3f. Show where we are.
3g. Make meta information public.
3h Write URLs that humans can read.
3i. Make links accessible.
3j. Tell people about a media object before they download.
3k. Announce the new with special links.
3l. Write meta-tags to have your pages found.
Idea #4: Build Chunky Paragraphs
4a. Design each paragraph around one idea.
4b. Put the idea of the paragraph first.
4c. If you must include the context, put that first.
4d. Put key conclusions, ideas, news, at the start of the article.
Idea #5: Reduce Cognitive Burdens
5a. Reduce the number of clauses per sentence.
5b. Blow up nominalizations and noun trains.
5c. Watch out for ambiguous phrases a user might have to debate.
5d. Surface the agent and action, so users don't have to guess.
5e. Make positive statements so people understand right away.
5f. Reduce scrolling.
5g. Let users print or save the entire document at once so users can avoid
reading any more onscreen.
Idea #6: Write Meaningful Menus
6a. Think of a heading as an object you reuse many
6b. Write each menus so it offers a meaningful structure.
6c. Offer multiple routes to the same information.
6d. Write and display several levels at once.
6e. When users arrive at the target, make it obvious.
6f. Confirm the location.