Use simple language and set up information to help users successfully scan. You might only get a few seconds of a user's time, so get to the point quickly and using fewer words. Improve readability by separating topics by headings, putting the most important information near the top and using bulleted lists when appropriate.
Headings & Subheadings
Make them visually unique enough to catch the eye and let the user know at a glance what a section of content will cover. Focus on keywords and phrases that quickly get to the point of the content that follows. Aim for a limit of five words.
- Weak: How do I know if I have a gait disorder? (long, hard to scan)
- Strong: Causes of Gait Disorders (short, to the point)
Bulleted & Numbered Lists
Bulleted and numbered lists allow a writer to condense a good deal of related information into a small amount of space. Here's a good example:
Causes of Gait Disorders
- Neurological: nervous system and brain impairment
- Orthopedic: muscular and skeletal system impairment
- Physiologic: post-infection problems
- Nutritional: lacking essential nutrients and vitamins in diet
Using links to direct your users to other sources for additional information helps you keep things concise and prevents redundancies.
The text you choose to link should be descriptive enough to give the user a sense of where the link will take them. Use active words such as “read,” “explore,” “learn” and “find.”
- Weak: For more information about the event, click here.
- Strong: Learn more about the 2015 Harvest Day Event.
- Stronger: View photos from the 2015 Harvest Day Event on Flickr.
“Click” is a verb, but it should be avoided in linked text because it isn’t related to the content on the destination page and doesn't help the user quickly comprehend the link's purpose.
These templates will help you build content in a format that matches your site’s design and our institutional branding. They're available as Word documents for the following frequently built page types: