A year or two ago, we asked our content experts to create “Top Picks” pages on a number of topics. Creating sets of useful links was a great idea (and a big shout-out to our experts for making them!), but we made one big mistake. Can you guess what it was?
People don’t read web pages the way they read magazines or books. If they don’t see what they are looking for right away, they click a link, or press the Back button in their browser, or use the search box. Jakob Nielsen (the web usability guru) calculates that people have time to read perhaps 18% of your words before they move on.
You have only seconds to deliver your message! How?
You probably write material for the UUA.org website or a UUA blog, at least on occasion. But does anyone read it?
Caution: You may be great at writing five-paragraph essays (the kind you wrote for school), scholarly papers, business memos, or sermons. But when people read web pages, their attention span is incredibly short. If a page contains paragraphs of text with few links, headings, or bulleted lists, the reader is outta there within seconds.
The ITS Web Team is starting a series of articles entitled “Web Writing” about keeping material short, writing effective titles and headings, adding links, and other ways to help your readers find what they need.
photo courtesy of proz.com