Considerations for Web Site Writing

Daniel Riordan, in Technical Report Writing Today, reports that “[t]he web is one of the primary means of communication today (2005, p. 322). Riordan adds that “[m]illions of people use it every day to find information, to purchase items, and to entertain themselves (2005, p. 322). A single web site can be information that is organized on one page or a single web site can be information that is organized over several pages (Riordan, 2005). Regardless of the amount information on a web site, the web design needs to give the reader clear and essay access to information just as with any document. As Riordan emphasis, unlike traditional documents in which a reader progresses through following a structured path from the beginning to the end, after reaching a Website’s home page, a reader can navigate the site in may different directions (2005). Therefore, special attention needs to be given to layout since each web mode does not have the traditional sub categories (Riordan, 2005):

Traditional Hierarchical Structure




Web Structure

In addition, more than the design of any other document, a web design needs to pay careful attention to addressing a cross-cultural audience since a website is not limited to specific space.  Therefore, make sure to avoid using idioms and pronouns. It is almost impossible for other cultures to translate idioms; referencing pronouns to their intended nouns is especially difficult for non-English speakers. In addition, a major consideration for effective cross-cultural communication is the referencing of time formats, dates, weights and measurements, telephone number formats, address formats, currency, and paper size (Riordan, 2005).

When writing items for the web, you need to keep your sentences short and relatively simple since you are writing to a wide audience (and you may have non-English speakers or people that consider English as their second language).  As referenced above, idioms, slang, and even acronyms should be avoided.  Your main point should be made in the beginning of the document or article and preferably highlighted in some way so that you audience finds what they need almost immediately.