web texts

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2010-02-08 22:56

How to Keep Web Texts Short (Part 2): The Sentence Level

Generally, what accounts for the content or surface level of a text has to be reflected in the sentences, too. Thus, in order not to overtax the users and to meet succinctness, many authors (see Book recommendation / advertisement: Buy this book at amazon.com/.co.uk/.de! Kilian 1999, Book recommendation / advertisement: Buy this book at amazon.com/.co.uk/.de! Lackerbauer 2003) have recommended using simple sentence structures: “Convoluted writing and complex words are even harder to understand online.” (Nielsen 1998)

2007-11-28 12:05 |

How to Keep Web Texts Short (Part 1): The Content Level

Different studies on Web usability have found out that Web users don’t want to read long texts because reading from screens is somewhat slower than reading from paper and maybe even painful to the eye, and because reading hypertext entails additional cognitive efforts. Consequently, I have defined succinctness to be a key to effective communication through Web texts, which appears to be in line with the literature on Web usability and Web linguistics. Likewise, the design of Web sites may sometimes limit the space that is primed for a particular text occurrence. For that reason, an author will have to keep texts short as well. In the following, I shall introduce a few approaches from literature in order to manage keeping Web texts short. The ideas given in the first posting to this problem will mainly concern the content level; solutions of how to keep sentences short will be presented in a second posting.

2007-11-23 14:22 |

Remarks on Text Typology (Part 2): A Text Typology on 'Webvertising'?

Usually, texts can be classified according to the writer’s intention. The outcome of such a classification refers to the genre of a text, i.e. a text may be explaining, instructing, recounting, describing, arguing, or narrating. Moreover, genres are to be distinguished from text types, which may be letters, plays, sonnets, formal debates, and so on. It appears to be the case that print texts, which of course have a much longer tradition in linguistics, are better represented by such classifications. Thus, I will not attempt to classify Web texts in terms of conventional text typology.

2007-11-04 01:46 |

Remarks on Text Typology (Part 1): It’s All about Being Effective in Advertising

We have learned that writing Web texts must be based on the needs of the medium and the readers that are addressed. This is what modern text linguistics demands, as well as what usability research insists. From the previous posting we know how Web texts generally should look like in order to meet these requirements; the keys to effective communication through Web texts have been defined as succinctness, ‘scannability’, and coherence of hypertext nodes. Before I will explain how to meet these criteria when writing Web texts, I will make short statements on both text typology and style on behalf of a complete linguistic discussion of text production issues, starting with a short series of three postings about text typology.

2007-11-03 13:02 | ,

What Else Do we Know About the Human Factors on the Web?

Throughout my linguistic considerations on Web texts so far, I already pointed out that users of Web sites can have very different contexts when accessing the information that is given. As a consequence, we must expect that visitors may have many different levels of reader interest in our Web texts. “Every person has a certain level of interest in every piece of information. A writer should help each reader to get their desired level of information as quickly as possible.” (Wallace 1999)

2007-10-18 17:30 | ,

How Users Read the Web

Certainly, there are many Web users who print out some information from the Web if they need it at a later date, for they do not want to rely on retrieving the information after leaving the Web site (see Book recommendation / advertisement: Buy this book at amazon.com/.co.uk/.de! Nielsen 2000). “Sometimes, the remote server will be down, sometimes the webmaster has removed the page, and sometimes the users are simply not able to find the page a second time.” (Book recommendation / advertisement: Buy this book at amazon.com/.co.uk/.de! Nielsen 2000, p 94) Nonetheless, the main interest in Web sites is immediate access to online information; this is what the whole thing is all about.

2007-10-17 13:50 |

From Linguistics to Human Factors

Up to this point, I have shed light on many different aspects of Web texts from a linguistic and communicative point of view. I have explained that a modern approach towards text linguistics has a broader conception of a particular piece of language; consequently, an author must also consider the context of the intended discourse that a text shall be part of. According to the communicative dilemma of written texts, the context in which a text shall be understood must be given in the text.

2007-09-28 09:56 | ,

Language selection and navigation

When publishing several language versions of the same texts on a Web site, a good translation is essential. This is no question, and I simply take it for granted. What is still important to bear in mind, however, is the fact that localisation too often is done “without knowledge of usability engineering principles or the context in which the product will be used” (Del Galdo & Nielsen 1996, p VI). Consequently, another aspect that I will discuss refers to the way the options to choose a language ought to be presented on a Web site.

2007-08-02 20:58 | ,

How Web Texts Meet International Users

Most of the companies that run a Web site do so because they already have many of their sales overseas, or at least plan to have so. “They don’t call it World Wide Web for nothing.” (Book recommendation / advertisement: Buy this book at amazon.com/.co.uk/.de! Nielsen 2000, p 313) Consequently, textual information on the Web is often given in other languages additionally to the language of the content provider. Therefore, content managers have to ensure international usability as well of their Web sites as of their Web texts. In fact, some additional aspects beyond the mere translation of web content should be considered when developing a Web site.

2007-07-19 13:40 | ,

Features of Online Discourse

Book recommendation / advertisement: Buy this book at amazon.com/.co.uk/.de! Halliday & Hasan (1989) provide a useful approach derived from the field of discourse analysis that can contribute to understand the context of situation in which a text shall function. Their simple conceptual framework of three headings serves “to interpret the social context of a text, the environment in which meanings are being exchanged” (Book recommendation / advertisement: Buy this book at amazon.com/.co.uk/.de! Halliday & Hasan 1989, p 12). I consider knowing this environment as essential for the creation of Web texts in general.

2007-07-11 10:37 |

Speaking Geek and Other Bloopers

As I have announced in the previous posting, Johnson (2003) has identified a couple of mistakes that publishers of Web sites frequently make, as they may not be aware of the communicative dilemma of Web texts. Some very basic ideas are given in this article in order to sensitise the readers of my blog to make up their minds about something so trivial – but with an enormous impact on successful communication.

2007-07-06 22:26 | ,

Context of Online Communication: A Communicative Dilemma

Now that we are reassured to rely on the written text for communication on the Web (see the previous posting), we may move towards another important aspect that Web authors must be aware of. Kana et al. (2003) have described a communicative dilemma of Web texts (and written text in general) that represents THE competitive challenge in writing for the Web.

2007-07-05 19:57 | ,

The Role of Written Text for Online Communication

According to Book recommendation / advertisement: Buy this book at amazon.com/.co.uk/.de! Kana et al. (2003), critics of our modern culture find fault with lacking ambitions of people in general to read and write. If this was the case, how then can texts on the Web be communicative at all? This article shall explain how written text fits into the frame of the Web, though. Comparing the quality and manner of communication via Web texts with communication via classical text media (e.g. books) will answer the question why we still deal with written text on the Web and succeed in doing so.

2007-06-27 12:53 | ,

What Actually Is a Text?

Traditionally, a text used to be understood as a piece of written language, say a poem, a novel or a single chapter in a book (see Fairclough 1995). To modern linguists a text is “[…] any instance of living language that is playing some part in a context of situation […]. It may be either spoken or written, or indeed in any other medium of expression that we like to think of” (Halliday & Hasan 1989, p 10). Essentially, a text is a semantic unit that cannot simply be “defined as being just another kind of sentence, only bigger” (Halliday & Hasan 1989, p 10). It is rather the inherent meaning that defines a unit of language a text, although this meaning is still coded in words or structures, which in turn have to be recoded in sounds or letters, as Halliday & Hasan (1989) further explain.

2007-06-24 21:21 |

E-Commerce and What Can Be Read between the Lines

Any Web site, whether a private home page or an e-commerce platform, follows certain plans and motivations that are related to the idea of the whole. Media companies therefore use their Web site to bring the latest news to the public; computer systems companies intend to sell computers and accessories; hobby Web sites try to entertain people with animations, interactive jokes, or games; and publishers of serious content provide concise facts about specific topics. So, information on the Web always serves certain functions and ambitions. For this shall be the context of my concerns, I will make a few remarks on e-commerce in this and the following postings.

2007-06-23 19:37 | ,

Introduction: (Still) growing Internet usage necessitates Web texts that work out

During the last ten to fifteen years the Internet has become an important factor to conduct many of our daily activities at home and on the job. As a medium of information and communication the Internet reached indispensable status for business and science, but for private usage as well.

2007-05-06 10:04 |

Yet another blog?

Corporate blogs seem to spring up like mushrooms these days. However, this one is different. Instead of praising our agency’s latest projects in order to get some PR out of it, we will share some valid knowledge and true research on a matter that most of the World Wide Web consists of: text.

2007-04-16 23:44 |

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2007-04-16 20:49

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2007-04-16 20:29 | ,

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