Monday, 8 October 2007

Writing (upside down) for the web

Print journalism has its own established method of drawing readers into stories with cunning, witty headlines, leading to longer in-depth articles and reports, but online the method is turned on its head.

Online, less time and energy is spent reading long passages or articles, thus headlines and opening paragraphs should bring to the front the facts; the who, what, when, where of the story.

Inverted Pyramid

The inverted pyramid is a writing style where the summary of the article is presented in the beginning of the article. This approach makes use of the “waterfall effect” well-known in journalism where writers try to give their readers an instant idea about the topic they’re reporting. The article begins with a conclusion, followed by key points and finally the minor details such as background information. Since web users want instant gratification, the inverted pyramid style, as supported by Nielsen, is important for web writing and for better user experience. From Smashing Magazine, Usability tips

Writing for the web

When creating, editing and designing content for the web, get the message across as quickly as possible.

To do that, say as little as possible, and put the most useful and relevant content first.

Speak plainly and openly and use a tone of voice that's appropriate to the audience. From Web design from scratch

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Successful newspapers online, the quest continues

Online newspapers are gradually finding their way to more successful times, as publishers unveil redesigns across the globe tap into best practices for design and usability, and the key areas of multimedia and interaction with the audience.

Here are some choice quotes that show the last remaining barriers to success for newspapers online ventures: Friday’s Five: Top Misconceptions by Newspapers Online by Erin Teeling at

"Largely, the web is an untapped resource for newspapers."

Littering a homepage with buttons and links distracts people's eyes and prevent them from focusing on anything. Newspapers are better off leading with a couple of big headlines and pictures, letting a strong navigation do the rest of the work."

Unless you really have something superior to offer, registration barriers are only going to hurt your traffic."

Newspapers can compete in online classifieds. But to do so, they need to revamp their systems for creating ads and make them much more user- and web-friendly."

- I would say that the classified market is a real tough one, where combining the print and online products in an efficient and effective way for the mass audience is the golden ticket.

"Barriers to entry to the online world–costs and technical requirements–are dropping everyday. The Web is getting easier and cheaper as we speak."

- As for the technical side of putting together websites, true there are countless tools online, many free, that can aid and enhance a new newspaper website. But for an existing site, with much aged backend coding and elderly databases, the path to web 2.0 is a long, time consuming and potentially expensive one.