Writing for the web checklist

Posted on: March 27, 2017

Categories: Consultancy

The goal of creating materials on the web is communication. The checklist below provides a test to see if your materials will communicate effectively.

Accessibility

  • Have all your images got <alt> text - for use by people who rely on screen readers?
  • Have you used h1, h2, h3 etc in an order that makes sense? So that people who rely on these to interpret the pages structure are not confused.
  • If you’ve set text and background colours, do they have enough contrast?

Useful resources

Active voice

  • Have you written your materials using an active voice throughout?
    eg. “The board proposed the legislation” not “The regulation was proposed by the board.”

Useful resources

The writer’s handbook

Building scent

  • Do all your links to other pages contain enough information to let people know where they’re going?
    eg. “More information“ not “Click here for more information”.
  • Have you underlined text that is not a link? That will be highly confusing for your audience.

Useful resources

Why you shouldn’t use click here

Scannability

  • Can your materials be quickly scanned? (Noting that people actually read very little - about 25% - of most web pages)
  • Are they broken into small chunks?
  • Do they have headings that are easily understood?
  • Do they use bullet points rather than lists in paragraphs?

Useful resources

How people read on the web

Front loading

  • Have you started with the material that’s most important for your audience, with extra detail further down?

Useful resources

Inverted pyramid style of writing

User language

  • Are you using terms that your audience will understand?
  • If your audience was searching for this material, what terms would they use?

Useful resources

Consider your audience