Web pages

Use of fonts and color on Web pages

Across the University's website, we use two universal fonts — Georgia for headlines and Verdana for paragraph text. If you are using the dotCMS editor, use the <h1> <h2> or <h3> tags for your headlines, the <h4> tag for subheads and the <p> tag for paragraph text, and you'll always be in step with our standards.

Please don't use other fonts or color your text. This could cause problems should style sheets tied to the site be revised in the future.


Eight tips to smart Web writing

1. Make your copy scannable.
From dotMarketing:  “For years, usability researchers have found that web users rarely read entire pages, word for word. Web users:

  • Scan pages
  • Pick out key words and phrases
  • Read in quick, short bursts
  • Are action oriented
  • Click and forage in search of bits of information that lead them toward a goal

Keep in mind: “There is evidence, in fact, that shows that reading on a screen is physiologically more difficult than reading on paper. Reading long paragraphs on a screen hurts the eyes, is laborious and time consuming in a medium known for speed.”

Suggest:

  1. Use bulleted or numbered lists. Lists create chunks of content that facilitates scanning. Lists can separate ideas and allow for counting. 
  2. Put key phrases and keywords in bold, if it makes sense.
  3. For steps in a process, use numbered lists and action-oriented imperatives:
    1. Register for a username
    2. Log-in to the portal
    3. Download the application

2. Catch your readers’ attention in the first few words. Start with the conclusion, follow with the details (inverted pyramid style).

3. Use half the word count of traditional writing: More like USAToday, less like the New York Times. One idea per sentence (leads to shorter sentences and increases comprehension).

4. Important: Use words that your target audiences use when searching. Avoid jargon.
This point underscores the basic philosophical change in the UA Web site: We had been UA-oriented, now we are audience- or student-oriented. 

How do you learn the terms that your audience uses? The best way is to ask them, but if that's not possible, consult a thesaurus or a keyword generator on the Web.

5. The words that are hyperlinked should be carefully chosen. People scan and jump to the links. The links should describe what the user will see should she click on it.

Also: Search engines put emphasis on hyperlinked words when determining page rank or importance. (Search engines also put high emphasis on headlines, subheads and keywords.)

POOR: For the retreat agenda, click here.
BETTER: The University's [department name] has approved this event as a continuing education/professional development opportunity for staff. Download the application and the retreat agenda.

POOR LINK: Directory
BETTER LINK: Find a person in the employee directory Or: Search employee directory

6. Do not put the web address in your writing.

POOR: Visit the University of Akron’s Web site at www.uakron.edu.
BETTER: Visit The University of Akron’s Web site.

7. Find the right tone. The web is a very direct, informal medium. When your readers scan your content, every word is valuable. Do not fill your pages with “fluff” or needless formalities. Use adjectives and adverbs sparingly. Boastful, exaggerated language reduces the likelihood that your content will be read or believed.  (Source: dotMarketing)

8. Open up your page and make it inviting. Add subheads (use the h4 tags). Limit the number of choices. White space is encouraged. Try to have something of visual interest on each major page (chart, photo, call-out quote, box). Call us: University Communications and Marketing can help with the presentation of information.


Need help?

For assistance, contact:

Bob Kropff
University Communications and Marketing
Ext. 7048
bobk@uakron.edu