Writing for the web

Learn about the considerations and issues you need to be thinking about when writing content for the web.


User experience

When writing for the web, it is important to think about the experience of users.

Take into account factors such as interactivity and readability. Remember to also consider those who may be reading from a phone or tablet.

Use plain language so users can easily find what they are looking for, understand what they have found and use it to meet their needs.

Try to avoid technical jargon or colloquialisms which may not be easily understood by a wider audience. If you must use a technical word, provide a definition in the first instance of its usage on every page where it appears.

Read our Editorial style guide to get specific guidance on the type of language we like to use on the University website.


Reading from the web can be a slow and often tiresome process. With this in mind, it is worthwhile making your top-level pages easy to scan so the user can pick out information or choices at a glance.

You can do this by using

  • headings and subheadings
  • bulleted lists
  • short, concise paragraphs and sentences that help the user to scan information
  • descriptive links (ie. wording that tells the user where they are being taken, rather than a web address link, eg. 'Univerisity of Sheffield website' rather than www.sheffield.ac.uk )

With your website visitors coming from a range of sources from Google search results to links in emails, never assume they have a prior understanding of the themes of your content.

Begin pages with a summary of what is on offer to help the user decide early on whether the information that will follow is relevant to them.

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