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Chapter 4. Online Writing Style > Solving Online Writing Problems

Solving Online Writing Problems

The following table summarizes the problems that are unique to online writing and presents possible solutions.

Table 4-1. Online Writing Problems and Solutions
ProblemSolution
Online readers cannot easily envision the size or complexity of an online document or the relationship among various topics.Create an effective document structure that is obvious and easy to navigate. See “Creating an Effective Document Structure” on page 83.
Many people do not like reading online text and become frustrated when they cannot quickly find what they want.Write short, self-contained topics and construct simple, scannable text.

Both strategies help reduce information overload and make it easier for readers to find quick answers to their questions.

See “Writing Short, Self-Contained Topics” on page 92 and “Constructing Scannable Paragraphs, Headings, and Lists” on page 93.
Text is more difficult to read online.Construct simple, scannable text. See “Constructing Scannable Paragraphs, Headings, and Lists” on page 93.
Most readers go directly to a topic to find information. Because they have no context from earlier reading, they can easily become disoriented.Preserve context to keep readers from becoming lost or disoriented in a document. See “Preserving Context in Online Documents” on page 98.
Links can be annoying, especially when the content and value of the material located at the link destination is unclear.Construct effective links that enable readers to make their own decisions about how to access information.

Avoid distracting or disorienting readers by overlinking or by providing insufficient context for links.

For more information about links, see Chapter 5.



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