Home > Usability > Writing and Content Quality Usability Guidelines

Writing and Content Quality Usability Guidelines

February 28, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Writing for the web is not the same as writing for print: people read differently on the web and expect to scan content pages for information.

  1. The site has compelling and unique content.
  2. Text is concise, with no needless instructions or welcome notes.
  3. Each content page begins with conclusions or implications and the text is written with an inverted pyramid style.
  4. Pages use bulleted and numbered lists in preference to narrative text.
  5. Lists are prefaced with a concise introduction (e.g. a word or phrase), helping users appreciate how the items are related to one another.
  6. The most important items in a list are placed at the top.
  7. Information is organised hierarchically, from the general to the specific, and the organisation is clear and logical.
  8. Content has been specifically created for the web (web pages do not comprise repurposed material from print publications such as brochures).
  9. Product pages contain the detail necessary to make a purchase, and users can zoom in on product images.
  10. Hypertext has been appropriately used to structure content.
  11. Sentences are written in the active voice.
  12. Pages are quick to scan, with ample headings and sub-headings and short paragraphs.
  13. The site uses maps, diagrams, graphs, flow charts and other visuals in preference to wordy blocks of text.
  14. Each page is clearly labeled with a descriptive and useful title that makes sense as a bookmark.
  15. Links and link titles are descriptive and predictive, and there are no “Click here!” links.
  16. The site avoids cute, clever, or cryptic headings.
  17. Link names match the title of destination pages, so users will know when they have reached the intended page.
  18. Button labels and link labels start with action words.
  19. Headings and sub-headings are short, straightforward and descriptive.
  20. The words, phrases and concepts used will be familiar to the typical user.
  21. Numbered lists start at “1” not at “0”.
  22. Acronyms and abbreviations are defined when first used.
  23. Text links are long enough to be understood, but short enough to minimise wrapping (especially when used as a navigation list).


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