Which word reads better? Machiavellianistic or treacherous. Well, if I’m aiming for web-based text, I’d opt for the treacherous simply because it flows better and I’m quite sure more people would understand the meaning of treachery over Machiavellianism.


Online vs. On Paper

Hopefully, it should come as no surprise to you that humans do read differently online versus a visual transaction on paper. In fact, “on the average webpage, users have time to read at most 28% of the words during an average visit; 20% is more likely.” What do these findings of Jakob Nielsen indicate? Well, perhaps it means we are much more inclined to skim a website rather than exhaustively churn through copious amounts of digitally-based text.


Help Me!

We are writers just as much as we are readers. If one skill is disproportionately uneven to the other, then very little can be done to correct said imperfection. In order for us to reach our audience then, we should strive to create and embellish an inviting, warm, fuzzy, environment. Our viewers should flourish when they are immersed in our pool; they should not drown, but dip their toes inside, radiating a soft glow of satisfaction.

Among the many tips offered by the website that we have been documenting over the last few weeks includes the following:

  • Talk like me. Keep a consistent tone that your viewers would appreciate.
  • Section it off. Group your content into various sections.
  • Order of importance. Follow the inverted pyramid style of writing.
  • You and me. Try an informal perspective.
  • Break it up. Keep sentence length short.
  • Tick them off. Use lists and bullets to organize a series of information.
  • Head the right way. Use headings and subheadings to indicate sectioning.
  • Shiny. Take advantage of empty blank space.
  • Pretty. Incorporate digital media.
  • Agenda. Keep a calendar of events.

Sources

Go ahead and explore these useful links that were referenced throughout the post:

http://www.usability.gov/how-to-and-tools/methods/writing-for-the-web.html

http://www.usability.gov/how-to-and-tools/resources/ucd-map.html

http://www.usability.gov/how-to-and-tools/methods/index.html

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