Saturday, April 9, 2016

PLN Journal Week 12: Writing for the Web and Killing Birds with Stones

Starting With Bird Killing

This post does not condone the killing of life, but it does idiomatically kill about four metaphorical birds as one metaphorical stone:

    Four pigeons
  • PLN Journal - It is another entry in my PLN Journal Assignment series for INFO 233 School Library Media Centers.
  • INFO 240 - The research I present was collected in conjunction with INFO 240 Information Technology Tools and Applications. In that course, we are studying design issues this week, and I chose to focus on reviewing research related to writing for the web.
  • Student Project - I am currently collaborating with a teacher at my school who is implementing a project-based learning experience that involves students creating a website for the authentic audience of our local middle schools. Students have been discussing tailoring content for their audience, but this information can add awareness of crafting writing based on the delivery platform.
  • Library Project - The GUHSD Library Council, made up of site teacher librarians, is creating a research website resource for students. These findings may help guide us in developing a website that is more usable.

People Don't Use XYZ!

I will sometimes hear people complain about users - particularly students - not using XYZ service or resource, but I see lack of use as evidence of at least three things:
  1. Users don't know about XYZ - This may mean that more marketing is necessary. How can I get the word out better? How can I link to XYZ web resource more or differently?
  2. Users don't need XYZ - XYZ may not matter to them. Have I analyzed user needs? Can I help users see the value and relevancy of XYZ?
  3. XYZ is not usable enough - How can XYZ be better designed? How can I make content more visually appealing? better organized? clearly written?
In this spirit, the content below focuses on usability, but with a particular focus on writing for the web. The curated resources cover why writing for the web needs to be approached differently and present tips for writing for this delivery platform.

Writing For The Web Is Different...

...or at least it should be different from writing an essay, for instance. Why? Because people read websites differently than they read print material. Below are some key research findings regarding online reading.

Web readers read both faster and slower.

Web readers read less.

How To Write For The Web

Since people read differently on the web, it is important to write differently in order to effectively convey information.

Here are some helpful introductory articles:

Writing With Teens In Mind

Working with teens, I thought I would also share one final article related to this audience: Teenage Usability: Designing Teen-Targeted Websites. Findings show that with teens, it is even more important to make writing succinct, to use formatting wisely, and to integrate interactive features while keeping design uncluttered.

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