Friday, August 17, 2012

Writing for the Web Refresher

Over this summer, I have talked to a number of my co-workers about website design and online content. At Chinook Arch, we are currently working on a new RISE website, an interface for Interlibrary Loan Services, and the Internal Website, so it has been a bit of hot topic.

Although I have taught website management classes in the past that included tips on creating content, I realized that was quite some time ago. In revisiting some best practices for content creation, I thought I would share some guidelines here for our member libraries.

  • Omit Needless Words: This is the name of Steve Krug’s fifth chapter in his book, “Don’t Make Me Think.” His third law of usability is, “Get rid of half the words on each page, then get rid of half of what’s left.” Users will be able to find the information easier and faster.
  • Classic Black: Stick with black, san-serif font. The human eye can most easily focus on black font against a white background, like books. Our eyes have even harder time focusing on computer screens than print, so make your content easy to see. 
  • Use Plain Language: When creating web content, use common, everyday words. If you are writing for the library’s website, try for a friendly tone and use “you” for the user and “we” for the library. Write like a newspaper reporter and put your most important information in the first paragraph. 

By applying these simply suggestions, you will make content on your library’s website, or any website you contribute to, more visible, findable and accessible for your virtual visitors.

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