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Subject:

Re: NOF Digitisation text

From:

Richard Freeman <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Richard Freeman <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 1 Nov 2002 10:13:23 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (71 lines)

Hi Colin,

As the educationalist for the PortCities consortium, I spend my time
working with authors to help them create exactly what you are trying to do.
To sum up my methods in a short email is a tough task so here is a summary
of useful pointers (I hope to expand on this at a future e-learning group
meeting if possible on writing for the web).

Accessible language
-------------------
Hard to define but essentially this means writing for the average reading
age of the UK which is 12. To do this, try and replace or remove high
syllable words. Place any specialist terms or jargon in a glossary. Check
the reading age with various online tests (e.g.
http://www.timetabler.com/reading.html#4 on the Fry readability graph) or
using the grammar checker in Word. Keep sentence structure short.

Front loaded paragraphs
-----------------------
Make sure the first paragraph of the material acts as an abstract and tells
the whole story of the piece in brief. Make this as accessible as possible
as this will be scanned by most people to see if they want to read the
remaining text.

Clear sections and sub-headings
-------------------------------
Divide the material up into clear sections that flow chronologically or
through the theme. Make sure sub-headings are detailed, almost in sentence
form and explain what the paragraphs below will cover as people will use
these to jump around the content. Conclude the material with a paragraph to
evaluate or analyse the material you have written.

Provide external and internal links
-----------------------------------
Make sure people can go further so while they are reading your material,
they could jump off and explore another site then return to your material.
Also ensure that people can easily jump around the story by using the sub-
headings to build the navigation. Links to other material on your site are
great to provide as they will then retain visitors.

Create a style guide
---------------------
A style guide is a useful tool to add to as you progress to record how you
want the text to be written. For example, are you going to write nineteenth
century or 19th century ? Put in a word list of common phrases that could
be spelt incorrectly or misunderstood by authors. Check out The Economist's
guide (http://www.economist.com/research/StyleGuide/index.cfm) and their
quiz or the Guardian's guide
(http://www.guardian.co.uk/styleguide/0,5817,,00.html) for examples of what
I mean.

If anyone would like to hear more about the PortCities project or writing
for the web more specifically, I will be organising a group meeting to
share my experiences and hopefully learn more from all the members on the
list. As soon as I have a date, I will post another message to the list.

Yours,

Richard Freeman

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