Page structure

Before publishing content on the web you need to analyse it to ensure that it is readable, usable and accessible to your web audience.

This section will help with the theory but we also recommend that you attend the Writing for the Web training session where you can undertake practical exercises.

Web writing is different to writing for print

Extensive eye-tracking reports have been carried out that show how web users read a web page

Eye-tracking reports

This research showed that people do not read the whole page, they scan the page looking for headings and links.

Linear vs non-linear

Print communication is linear because it has to be. Think carefully about the order of the topics on a page.  

Group things together by:

  • Similar or overlapping content
  • Natural groups (under a single subheading)
  • Amount of space required/available

The inverted pyramid

Text on a web page works best when arranged in what is called ‘the inverted pyramid’ which places information on the page in descending order of importance. (‘Importance’ here means important to the site visitor.) The inverted pyramid looks like this:

Really important stuff

A bit of context

Related stuff

The rest

In print, it is usual to begin with an introduction or some context before the really important stuff. But web users don’t want that – they want to get straight to the point. They also don’t want to read the whole page. The inverted pyramid allows a reader to stop at any point without missing anything vital.

Paragraphs

  • Break long paragraphs at natural points.
  • Two or three sentences is fine. (Just one if it’s long.)
  • Tabloid newspaper structure, without a tabloid writing style.
  • Use Headings correctly

 

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