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Writing for the Web
Writing for the Web Best Practices:
- Chunk your content – this means making it scan able by breaking it into manageable sections. Paragraphs should be no more than 5 sentences. Posts should be between 200-1,500 words.
- Use bullet points and numbered lists – if possible, organize your information into lists. It makes your content easily consumable and promises the reader a few solid takeaways. Think Buzzfeed “Top 5 reasons your lists should be numbered”
- Use plain language -- Keep your writing simple, clear, and to the point.
- Write in a casual tone - Try to sound like a person. Try to sound like yourself! You are the author after all.
- Use an active voice – “We are available to meet for research consultations” VS. “Contact us to schedule a consultation”
- Front load information – Put the important stuff first. Provide additional details later.
- Use images – they add interest and break up the text. If you use images that are not your own, be sure to cite them.
- Use descriptive links – avoid saying things like “click here” and instead hyperlink the words that describe it.
- Plan ahead and post regularly – plan to post at least once per quarter. Additional posts are encouraged and welcome.
U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. The Research-Based Web Design & Usability Guidelines, Enlarged/Expanded edition. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2006.
- Provide a description of all images and media in the ALT field.
- If the image is purely decorative, use the check box to indicate that.
- Use headings to format and organize your text. Headings should only be used in the order in which they are listed, not arbitrarily based off of aesthetics. For instance, you should not use a Header 3 if you have not already used Headers 1 and 2 in the hierarchy of the page.
- Use descriptive links. Avoid hyper linking terms like "click here." Instead, hyperlink the words that describe what you're linking to. For example, check out additional accessibility instructions from Northwestern's Web Communication department.