A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication (and technical writing).

Articles>Web Design>Usability>Writing

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About Us Information on Websites

We found a 9% improvement in the usability of About Us information on websites over the past 5 years. But companies and organizations still can't explain what they do in one paragraph.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2008). Articles>Web Design>Usability>Writing


"About Us" -- Presenting Information About an Organization on Its Website

Study participants searched websites for background information ranging from company history to management biographies and contact details. Their success rate was 70%, leaving much room for usability improvements in the 'About Us' designs.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2003). Articles>Web Design>Usability>Writing


Blah-Blah Text: Keep, Cut, or Kill?

Introductory text on Web pages is usually too long, so users skip it. But short intros can increase usability by explaining the remaining content's purpose.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2007). Articles>Web Design>Writing>Usability


First Two Words: A Signal for the Scanning Eye

Testing how well people understand a link's first 11 characters shows whether sites write for users, who typically scan rather than read lists of items.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2009). Articles>Web Design>Writing>Usability


Just Say No to Dead Fragments

A dead fragment of text is what's left after a usability expert has had his or her way with some perfectly good copy. The process works a little like this... First, take some great text that engages the reader on a number of levels. Here are a few words from Martin Luther King, Jr.: 'I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.' Now cut that back to make it more 'usable': 'Have sons judged by character and not color.' What are you left with? A brief, but dead, fragment. The substance of the communication remains, but the soul has been ripped out of it.

Usborne, Nick. ClickZ (2001). Articles>Writing>Usability>Web Design


Long vs. Short Articles as Content Strategy

Information foraging shows how to calculate your content strategy's costs and benefits. A mixed diet that combines brief overviews and comprehensive coverage is often best.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2007). Articles>Web Design>Usability>Writing


Los Usuarios no Nos Leen

Las normas básicas de como escribir un texto para web, vamos, lo que todo copywriter se sabe de carrerilla.

Copyzen (2009). (Spanish) Articles>Web Design>Usability>Writing


Words that Zing

When someone consults a website, there is a precious opportunity not only to provide useful information but also to influence their decision. To make the most of this opportune moment, we must ensure that the site says or does precisely the right thing at precisely the right time. Understanding the rhetorical concept of kairos can help us craft a context for the opportune moment and hit the mark with appropriately zingy text.

Jones, Colleen. List Apart, A (2010). Articles>Web Design>Writing>Usability


Writing Style for Print vs. Web

Linear vs. non-linear. Author-driven vs. reader-driven. Storytelling vs. ruthless pursuit of actionable content. Anecdotal examples vs. comprehensive data. Sentences vs. fragments.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2008). Articles>Web Design>Writing>Usability


最初の2語: 流し読みのためのシグナル


Nielsen, Jakob. Usability.gr.jp (2009). (Japanese) Articles>Web Design>Writing>Usability

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