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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 |

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 | ,

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 | ,

The Use of Literature on Web Linguistics and Usability

Whereas traditional literature on the fields of discourse analysis and text linguistics is – as one would have expected – very much at hand, useful literature (including online papers) on the particular concerns of Web linguistics are rare and ambiguous. Indeed, the topic is widely discussed among a variety of Web sites, but scientific standards, such as giving references or providing the information necessary for citing these publications, are often ignored . Therefore, I only used a few online papers for my discussion on Web linguistics. These however have been derived from reliable sources, as far as I can say.

2007-06-12 22:26 |

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 |

Again, why writing about text?

Because textual communication is rich but cheap, fast but discrete. And what is most striking here, as you will learn from my research that is to be published throughout this blog, people have never written that much before, since the emerge of the Internet. Can there be a better reason for approaching the Web from a linguistic perspective?

2007-04-18 15:51 |

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