Applying Writing Guidelines to Web Pages

by John Morkes and Jakob Nielsen on January 6, 1998

Summary: Web users generally prefer writing that is concise, easy to scan, and objective (rather than promotional) in style. We incorporated these and other attributes into a redesign of Web content. Doing so required trade-offs and some hard decisions, but the results were positive. The rewritten website scored 159% higher than the original in measured usability. Compared with original-site users, users of the rewritten site reported higher subjective satisfaction and performed better in terms of task time, task errors, and memory. Implications for website writing and design are discussed.