Note: This reflection is taken from text located in Crawford Kilian's, Writing for the Web.3.0.
I actually very much enjoyed the revision process needed in Exercise 4. I went over and simplified two of the essays, numbers one and three. The first essay was quite long, 500 words long, and the second was only about 300. I revised them to roughly half their length and in the process, I lowered their reading level.
I liked that these exercises gave us the chance to practice the wisdom gained from reading Kilian as well as the fact that I now have confidence in my ability to edit for the web, if nothing else!
I actually found three random sites to review for Exercise 5. (This is mostly because my Mac had difficulties with the CD.) I reviewed the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base: Air Force Research Laboratory website, the Blairsville-Saltsburg School District website, in addition to the Reading is Fundamental charity organization.
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base: Air Force Research Laboratory:
The purpose of this site was both informational. Though somewhat busy in its interface, this website achieved these purposes by providing the visitor with numerous links to specialized locations with key information. The audience of this website is most likely someone either already in the military or interested in a specific area of research that this base conducts; these people would be inclined to understand all of the technical terms used on the site.
The text is information-rich, but this fact can overwhelm the visitor. The print is largely small or hard to read on screen as well. The page does load quickly with its strategic use of pictures and graphic sense. Only a marginal amount of scrolling is needed and there are an abundance of links.
Blairsville-Saltsburg School District:
The general purpose of this website was educational with information playing a role as well. This purpose is achieved by several, though not overpowering links to additional websites. The audience of this website is probably geared toward the parents of students or students/families looking to enroll in this school district. However, the site also attempts to integrate teachers and administrators.
I believe this site to be clear, well organized, and easy to look at. The appearance of the site is very visually appealing to me in its clean cut distinctions and bit of moving text. The pictures are also well utilized in the layout of the page. The content of the page is helpful while not bombarding in amount. It could serve to be a little bigger though. The width of the page is uncomfortable for the average user. This could then lead to increased scrolling.
Reading is Fundamental:
The purpose of this site is to market the charity to potential investors as well as to educate. Simply by looking at the website, its audience seems to be oriented toward women, young parents, those looking to become involved, and perhaps young student educators. For the amount of content present on the site, it’s streamlined and well organized. The content is informative and welcoming. It’s written in short bursts as is preferable.
The appearance of the website is quite cute and amusing. In its bright contrasting yet complementing colors, the visitor is greeted with a happy theme. There is an equal amount of cartoon and real-life pictures that go together and are well placed. The page loads quickly with more than one navigational bar. There are also several links embedded within the short text.
Exercise 5 was easy as pie after the two essays and the website reviews!
Though people use the Web like a billboard, most Web surfers aren’t looking for long print documents and don’t bother to read them. Websites can be made for this, however.
Surfers like to screen text for key words and interesting links. They don’t like to scroll. So a “chunk” of text less than 100 words would be enough to fill a screen.
It’s better to cut long text by 50%. Then you should break it into two or three short paragraphs. A solid mass of text is hard to read and scan on a screen.
Webwriters have three jobs:
- Create easy sites to surf.
- Give information that’s easy to find and understand.
- Allow readers to act on that information. (buy things, subscribe to e-mail, join the club)
If webwriters don’t have these things, surfers will become frustrated, confused, and then go to another site. Simple navigation, useful information, and easy action will make any site worth visiting and revisiting.
P.S. I love making lists!