Showing posts with the label writing

Writing good titles

I originally created this PowerPoint in 2007 to assist knowledge base writers at my company. As I've worked at different companies and time has passed, I found that this presentation is still relevant.In fact, not only is it still relevant, but it's relevant to more than just titles -- it's relevant to the headings and subheadings in your documents, too. Many years later, I find myself still referencing these same principles, but I no longer need the presentation to speak to them. Instead I usually weave them into various discussions and make sure they get added appropriately to training and governance related materials. Here are a few take-aways. Your goal in writing article titles is to get your users/customers to click on the pages of relevance to their situation and to not introduce click fatigue because they've had to view so many articles to find the right one. We browse, we don't read. We did in 2007 and we still do. When viewing a list of search results, we

Front-loaded text and scanning the page

We push our writers to always front-load their titles and paragraphs not just because we think it's a good idea, but because studies back up the technique. Jakob Nielsen posted a great article, " First 2 Words: A Signal for the Scanning Eye ," where he goes into the details of his research in this area. Jakob starts with reminding us how our customers have many lists to read, err scan -- it's not just search results. Search result pages List of current and/or archived articles and press releases Product listing Table of contents Question lists on an FAQ page Bulleted and numbered lists, checklists, etc 11 characters is used as the baseline measure the number of characters a user actually reads when looking through a list (link text). The test is to see just the first 11 characters and see if you can predict what's behind the link -- what will you get when you click. The best link text has these characteristics. Plain language Specific te

Improve your writing for the web with the Hemingway Editor

As we know, readers on the web don't really read, they scan and skim articles, and won't read anything that's long form. With the Hemingway Editor , you can improve your writing by making it more "bold and clear" -- make your writing standout so your audience actually reads it. The Hemingway Editor is going to give you feedback and input on the following: Sentences that are too hard to read Simpler alternatives to words and phrases Unnecessary adverbs Use of passive voice Readability score The Hemingway Editor also has other helpful functions: Basic formatting Import from Word Export as HTML Character count It's free to use online, or a mere $10 for the app version.