Writing Better Content
- Organize Your Content
- Write for Everyone
- Check Embedded Content
- Correctly Write Links
- Add Value to Tables
- Check Your Work
- Organize your thoughts with an outline before writing.
- Use sub-headings that clearly indicate the content and relationship to the rest of the page.
- Lead with the most important idea in your paragraph since visitors quickly scan pages and rarely read all the text. See Inverted Pyramid: Writing for Comprehension for more information.
- Use lists for quick, easy reading.
- Numbered lists indicate there is an order to the content (first, second, etc.)
- Bulleted lists do not assign importance or order and are preferred for most content.
The only H1 heading should be the page title. All other headings should follow in logical order.
For example, in this page
- Writing Better Content, the page title, is an H1.
- Organize Your Content is H2.
- A subparagraph of Organize Your Content would be H3.
- Write for Everyone, a heading at the same level as Organize Your Content, is an H2.
- Use plain, simple language anyone can understand.
- Write short sentences and paragraphs. Visitors will rarely read the entire page.
- Explain abbreviations and acronyms the first time you use them: American Library Association (ALA). Then you can use just the abbreviation or acronym.
- Leave out unnecessary words.
- Avoid blocks of bold, all caps, or italicized text. These are difficult to read.
- Break out long quotes in block quotes.
- Don’t use underlines. For most sites, the underline indicates a link.
- Word Documents - Creating an Accessible Word Document
- Google Document or Presentation - Make your document or presentation accessible
Create and verify PDF accessibility (Acrobat Pro)
For local help on PDFs, contact Julie Vecchio (email) (1-4900) or Alex Papson (email) (1-3282) in the Center for Digital Scholarship.
- Videos - 508 Accessible Videos – How to Caption Videos
- PowerPoints - PowerPoint Accessibility
- Links should be clear and indicate the destination.
- Don’t use “Click here” or “Read more” links. Better links might be “Learn how to tune a violin” or “Read more about Thomas Jefferson.”
- Differentiate page and email links. Be clear on whether a link will go to a person’s bio page or open an email to them: “Joe Blow” versus “Contact Joe Blow.”
- Make sure all links work; some may change unbeknownst to you!
- Add a caption to your table, but avoid a summary.
- Break up tables that have multiple sections or are very complex.