People use websites to make decisions—from what product to buy to what health treatment to seek.  When someone consults a website, there is a precious opportunity not only to provide useful information but also to influence their decision. To make the most of this opportune moment, web professionals need to understand the rhetorical concept of kairos… saying or doing the right thing at the right time.”
I often find myself trying to explain to my clients how writing for the web is different than other types of writing. Often it boils down to the need to be direct and clear, use the active voice, include scannable subheads, usable links, and calls to action.
In this delightful article on A List Apart, Colleen Jones explains how words weave together to enable the web visitor to hit your ideal target. This creative and focused use of copy is just as critical to a satisfying and usable web experience as visual design and information design.
Its the third leg of the usability stool.
She provides some great examples, particularly in regards to healfh care copywriting. Having spent a couple years as the web designer for OHSU’s Center for Women’s Health, I have struggled with crafting engaging and accurate health content that is actionable and not scary.She provides some great snippets from STD websites that show how varying approaches affected outcomes.
One struggle she doesn’t include in this article is getting buyin from the client, who often do include medical professionals and administrators who feel it should
- just like the print version
- written to their level of education
- include every little detail.
- look like the website they built in 1997
But that is the topic for another blog.