Writing for Your Audience
It doesn't matter how pretty your site is or if you have lots of
bells and whistles. If a person can't find what they need, they move on.
According to a presentation by Bob Johnson Consulting, most people come
to your web site for the following reasons:
But how do you know what is important to them? First you need to
find out who they are. Here are some possibilities in an academic
What information do they need about your department? What information
do they need about other departments? How do you present that
information in a way that makes sense to them? We've provided you with a
Redesign Worksheet to assist you in asking the questions you need to
think about when looking at your site.
Today's language for the web is informal and conversational, yet
professional. Save the ultra-professional jargonese for your
professional journals. Just as a reader of a good story can relate to a
character in the story, your audience needs to relate to what you are
presenting. They need to feel like what you have to say applies to them.
Your choice of words is important. Some words engage your audience
more than others. Bob Johnson Consulting calls these "care words." These
care words can vary from one audience to another. Ask members of your
audience to tell you what they'd like to know about your department and
note the words they use.