User level: Novice upwards
Nielsen recommends this as a ‘faster read’ than Letting Go of the Words.
This succinct book focuses on structuring, organising, writing and editing good web text, with add-on chapters on blogs, corporate web writing, marketing on the web and FAQs.
Kilian’s is the only book in this section to give details of the various reading levels – see pages 78–9.
- Unlike print, hypertext relies on ideas that stand alone
- Users want ‘hit & run’ retrieval
- Text needs to follow three basic principles – orientation (where am I and how do I get round the site?), information (I need text to be correct and to be clear at first glance) and action (what do I do next?)
- Use ‘you’ throughout the site
- Use headings and subheadings to orientate the user
- Add interest to your links by adding a hook rather than the ubiquitous ‘Click here’
- Draft a ‘client brief’ for your site – e.g. what personality traits should it convey? What are the demographics and values of your target audience/s?
- For body text, use either a ‘serif’ font (with little hooks) or one specially designed for use on the screen, such as Verdana
- Use bulleted lists to break up the text