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Another word for the World Wide Web.


Short for World Wide Web Consortium, an international consortium of commercial and educational institutions that seeks to promote common standards and interoperability on the Web. The W3C was founded in 1994 by Tim Berners-Lee, the original architect of the World Wide Web.


Stands for wide area network, a network that connects geographically separated areas.


Wireless Application Protocol, a technology standard that allows mobile/cell phone users to access limited Internet content. WAP was hugely hyped for its potential for mcommerce (mobile commerce), but it hasn’t yet lived up to its expectations. Because of small screens, poor technology, cost, and usability issues, very few people have participated in WAP-enabled services.

See also [i-mode]

Web, Web

An abbreviation for the World Wide Web. Capitalize when referring to the noun:

The Web is a useful research tool.

Lowercase when using as an adjective:

web users

Web address

Also known as a URL. What the reader types in the address field of their browser to go to a particular website. For example, www.oracle.com.

While it’s sufficient to use the shortened address in browsers, if you are sending a Web address to someone by email—and particularly if you are sending out an email newsletter to a large group of subscribers—always include the “http://” as some programs won’t translate it into a link without it (http://www.oracle.com). If the URL is more than 65 characters long, place it in angle brackets (<>).

See also [URL]
See also [URL navigation]

Web browser

Software application that displays Webpages. The most popular are Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator.


In the early days of the Web, the Webmaster was the jack of all trades who did everything from designing, coding, writing and editing to marketing, and maintaining the website. As websites evolved it became impossible for one person to do all these things. The term Webmaster has thus become a slightly confused term. It is still used to refer to people in charge of smaller websites, but in larger ones, it generally refers to someone responsible for the technical maintenance of the website.

See also [managing editor]
See also [information architect]


One word.

See also [page]

Webpage design

See [website layout and design]

One word (often shortened to “site”). A website is a publication. It is a place where a reader comes primarily to read content. The role of a website is to deliver the right content to the right reader at the right time at the right cost to further the objectives of the organization. These objectives may include getting the reader to purchase a product online, and/or getting the reader to get in touch with the organization with a view to purchasing a product.

website layout and design

See Section 2, “Designing for the Web,” for an overview of this area.

Quality website design creates simple, easy-to-read, fast-downloading pages, while also providing a quality navigation and search, and establishing a sense of style (there are a lot of elements at play on any one Webpage, good design makes it all look stylish and coherent).

  • Page layout and design: Page layout should be optimized for 800-pixel width to ensure maximum compatibility. (The design width should actually be 760 pixels to allow for the scroll bar on the right.)

    Scrolling is preferable to repeated clicking. However, pages should ideally be no more than three screens and a maximum of six. Homepages should ideally be two screens or less. A reader should only have to scroll vertically. They should never have to scroll horizontally.

    Global navigation should appear consistently on every page. (See global navigation, navigation.) Avoid presenting text as a graphic, unless that text is part of a navigation graphic or banner ad. Substantial quantities of text (a paragraph or more) should never be presented as a graphic, as this slows the download of the page and does not deliver any significant benefit to the reader. It also creates accessibility problems.

    All Webpages should contain a masthead and footer. See masthead, footer. All Webpages should contain a basic search function either in the right of the masthead or near the top left of the page, underneath the organization logo. See search.

    Use a three-column layout on homepages.

  • Homepage layout and design: The most critical part of a homepage is the “first screen” that the person sees when they arrive at the page. Make sure that the key content and navigation are always viewable from the first screen. Absolutely avoid splash pages.

    Remember, a key function of any homepage is to promote important content to the reader. Headings and summaries are an effective way of doing this. In most print media there is a central “story of the day” that the publication leads with. This is to grab the reader’s attention. Basically, media experts have found that it’s easier to grab someone’s attention by putting in front of them one compelling story (perhaps underpinned by a few stories of lesser prominence) than to present several stories, each with the same level of presentation importance.

    It is recommended that you have at least one heading and full summary, but no more than five. These headings and full summaries should be placed in the center column. Headings with one-line summaries, or headings on their own, can be placed underneath the heading and full summary, or in the right column.

    When the heading is in a heading-and-summary environment, it should always be a link to the full document because this is what the reader expects, due to their familiarity with search processes where the heading/title is always a link to the full document. Provide a date at the beginning of the summary (see dating documents and summaries). At the end of the full summary, there should be a link denoting “More” or “Full Story.” The heading and summary should carry through to the relevant document page. If there is an image associated with the heading and summary, it should link through to the same page. The image itself should also carry through. See www.microsoft.com for an example of good crisp layout.

  • Document layout and design: Pages that display documents should ideally follow the three-column approach (see column), with the body of the document in the center column (see www.irishexaminer.com for an example of document layout). Where there are large images, tables, or diagrams involved, it may be appropriate to drop the right column. However, care needs to be taken that the images are not too large, from a download or print perspective. Avoid any image so wide it forces the reader to scroll horizontally. If the image requires viewing in a larger format, consider placing a smaller version of it within the document, then linking to the larger version on a page of its own. If doing this, state the file size of the image.

    Specific document layout guidelines include

    - using sans serif fonts such as Arial or Verdana in 10-point (see fonts)

    - using black text on an 85 percent white background (see color)

    - dating the document at the very top of the document (see dating documents and summaries)

    - providing a heading for every document (see headings)

    - providing a byline, linked to a biography or an email contact form (see byline)

    - providing a summary or introductory paragraph (see summaries)

    - having between 9 and 12 words per line for the document text, as this optimizes readability (see line length)

    - using pull quotes to facilitate scan reading (see pull quotes)

    - providing an “email this” and “print this” facility (see email to a friend, printing)

    - providing a copyright notice at the end of every document, as well as the copyright link in the footer of the page (see copyright)

    When a document is long (more than 10 paragraphs), provide a table of contents (TOC), and place it in between the summary and the main body of text. The TOC should be generated from subheads within the documents. In long documents, use subheads every four to five paragraphs. The TOC should be linked to its corresponding subhead within the document.

    When a document is longer than 30 paragraphs, or 1,500 words of text, as well as providing the table of contents, break up the document into separate pages at least every 1,000 words, or 20 paragraphs. Provide details on how many pages there are. Ideally this should be given at the top and bottom of the page. It should be presented in a “1-2-3-4” format (see www.salon.com for an example of a page number approach). Each of the page numbers should be hyperlinked to the appropriate page, except for the page being viewed, which should be unlinked. There should also be a “Previous page” link (on all but the first page) and “Next page” link (on all but the last page). At the bottom of each page it’s important to encourage the reader to click to the next page. A practical way of doing this is to place the first subheading from the next page beside the “Next page” link. It should be a link but should link to the top of the next page, not to the subheading itself.

Documents without graphics can look bare and intimidating. While it is important to ensure that the page downloads quickly, a quality graphic can sometimes help the reader better understand the information that is being communicated.

A graphic should usually be right-aligned or horizontal across the column (left-aligned can cause accessibility problems). A good place for them to appear is at the top of the document, underneath the heading. A graphic should not dominate the screen.

If the graphic has a different copyright from the document, the copyright information should appear before the descriptive text. If the copyright notice is already embedded in the graphic, there’s no need to repeat the information. Follow the normal rules for graphics.

See also [graphics]

white space

White space aids scannability. At least 20 percent of your screen should be made up of white space (blank).

See also [color]


A single copy of the browser. You can open a second browser window or more by selecting the file function in most browsers. It allows the reader to have a number of browsers open at the same time.

Don’t force the browser to open another browser window when a reader selects a link unless you have a very good reason. It irritates the reader because it removes some of their control and seems to disable the Back button. Forcing them to open a second window will not force them to stay on your site, and is more likely to backfire as readers get annoyed.


The World Intellectual Property Organization rules on domain-name disputes.


A wired building or organization is equipped for the Internet. A wired person is a regular user of the Internet.

word processors

Always write and edit text in a good word-processing package with spell-check and search facilities before you transfer it to HTML. It’s a lot more difficult to edit text that is surrounded by code.

While spell checkers can catch typos, they do not help when your misspelling creates another valid word—for example, you type though instead of through. A spell checker is no substitute for a good editor.

Use the word count facility available in packages such as Microsoft Word to check the length of your lines and paragraphs. You’ll find it on the Tools menu. Average paragraph length on the Web should be no longer than 50 words, while lines should be narrower than 12 words (about 70 spaces).

Another useful tool for editing is the Track Changes facility in Word. It allows both the writer and editor to track all changes within a document and accept or reject those changes as required. This is also found on the Tools menu, select Tools > Track Changes > Highlight Changes, and select the Track Changes while Editing checkbox and click OK (in Microsoft Word 2000)—see Figure 3.4.

Figure 3.4. The Track Changes facility in Word is a useful tool. Copyright © 2001, Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

All changes to the document will be easily identifiable by the use of different colors. If you want to see the text without the edits highlighted, simply deselect the Highlight changes on screen checkbox.

When reviewing a document that has been edited with the Track Changes feature activated, simply right-click a change to display a shortcut menu where you can either accept or reject that change. If you select the Accept or Reject Changes option in this menu you can also choose to accept or reject all changes without review.

World Wide Web

More commonly referred to simply as the Web.

See also [web]

writing guidelines

See Section 1, “Writing for the Web,” for detailed guidelines on this topic. Here are a few reminders:

  • Style: Be concise. Use positive rather than negative statements. Write simply and naturally, avoiding jargon.

  • Use effective headings: They should be punchy and descriptive. Make them brief, direct, and meaningful. Use the active voice (this gives the heading more impact):

    Europe is dying


    The death of Europe

    Use keywords (this helps the readers to scan your text and allows it to be found in a search engine). Don’t deceive the reader or assume that the reader will know anything about the document.

  • Use effective summaries: They should “sell” your document. Use keywords from the document. Include the main points from the article, the who, what, where, when, how. Use vivid or forceful words and phrases.

  • Use short paragraphs: Text should be broken into short, manageable paragraphs (five lines or less) and each line should contain a maximum of 12 words. Format the paragraphs appropriately, introducing subheadings, links, bullet points, and tables.


Pronounced “wizziwig”—“what you see is what you get.”



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