Writing Scannable Text for the Web

People read web pages much differently than they read printed text-- they scan.  Here are some writing tips ensure that people get the most out what you write:

  • Highlight text within paragraphs using bold or italics, NOT underlining (users expect underlined text to be a hyperlink)
  • Give hyperlinks meaningful text—avoid "Click here"
  • Use meaningful sub-headings (not "clever" ones)
  • Incorporate bulleted or numbered lists
  • One idea per paragraph (users will skip over additional ideas not caught by the first few words in the paragraph)
  • Write in the inverted pyramid style—start with the conclusion, followed by the most important supporting information, and end by giving the background
  • Be concise—try to use half the word count than conventional writing
  • Do not use all caps.  In addition to being difficult to read, it is considered rude (the web equivalent of shouting)

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