Chapter 6: Writing for the web
Slate magazine, an online-only publication, mimics the long form journalism of printed magazines.
Writing strategies for the Web are different from print or other media. We can exploit the interactive nature of hypertext to give the reader freedom in how he or she approaches the content. We will discuss two principles of writing for the Web: “chunking” information and building scannable text.
- Each page should stand alone. In other words, each chunk must be discrete.
- To allow for discrete chunks, the writer must be able to see the data as it would flow through a series of links along a thread.
- The chunks should be grouped in closely related “subsites” in a way that makes easy movement among the chunks, with more effort required for the user to exit from one cluster and go on to another.
- The narrative style of news stories (beginning, middle, end) does not provide the best opportunity for breaking up information. Other strategies are needed. In other words, stories must be freed from being linear; the reader should feel comfortable entering the story at any point.
- Each chunk is tightly focused on one idea.
- The writer creates deliberate associations between chunks of information through the use of links. The navigation scheme provides some control over the content as the user sees it.
- Style considerations — the details of writing links into the copy — determine the user's comfort and the links' usefulness.
- explain the concept of chunking information and describe how it relates to site structure.
- devise a strategy for writing for the scanning reader.
- define structural markup and discuss how headings and keywords relate to search-engine optimization.
- explain the difference between navigation links and embedded hyperlinks, and discuss stragtegies for using embedded hyperlinks.
- write hyperlinks that have a minimal disruption in the flow of the text.
- explain the paradox of control.
- define “marketese” and explain why it’s a bad idea for web writing.
The student who completes this chapter should be able to: