AccessibilityDigital LearningLearning DesignMoodle TemplatesWriting for online

How to write user friendly content for online platforms

It is important to target your audience when writing within an online environment. By knowing whom you are writing for, you can write at a level that will be meaningful for them.  Students will visit your content with a task in mind, you need to write and structure your writing in a way that will facilitate the activity.

  • Use the words your users use. 
    By using keywords that your users use, you will help them understand the copy and will help optimize it for search engines.
  • Break down your content. 
    Chunking makes your content more scannable by breaking it into manageable sections.
  • Front-load the important information.
    Use the journalism model of the “inverted pyramid.” Start with the content that is most important to your audience, and then provide additional details.
  • Use pronouns.
    The user is “you.” The organisation is “we.” This creates cleaner sentence structure and more approachable content.
  • Use active voice.
    “The group made the decision” not “The decision was made by the group.”
  • Use short sentences and paragraphs.
    The ideal standard is no more than 20 words per sentence, five sentences per paragraph. Use dashes instead of semi-colons or, better yet, break the sentence into two. It is ok to start a sentence with “and,” “but,” or “or” if it makes things clear and brief.
  • Use bullets and numbered lists.
    Don’t limit yourself to using this for long lists—one sentence and two bullets is easier to read than three sentences.
  • Use clear headings and subheadings.
    Questions, especially those with pronouns, are particularly effective.
  • Use images, diagrams, or multimedia to visually represent ideas in the content.
    Videos and images should reinforce the text on your page.
  • Use white space.
    Using white space allows you to reduce noise by visually separate information.

    [Information edited and compiled by Elena Hernandez-Martin)

Writing for the web. Available at: (available 21.08.23)
The elements of Style: (available 21.08.23)
Krug S (2006). Don’t make me think! A common sense approach to Web Usability. 2nd Edition. New Riders, Bekerley. CA.

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