UWA Staff

Know your audience

The UWA staff site provides easy access to information for new and current staff. This includes procedures and planning, Human Resources, the induction process, Financial Services, Research and Teaching and Learning, as well as details of facilities, parking and transport information, and all about UWA’s social side.

Before publishing, you should look at why you are putting the information online. Make sure it is relevant to the target audiences of the University and is written in a style that they will 'read'.

  1. Target audiences
  2. Reading and writing on the web
  3. Improving a web page

Target audiences

  • Current students
  • Future students
  • International students
  • Staff
  • Alumni and friends
  • Business and industry
  • News and media

Writing with the audience in mind means presenting information your audience expects to find in a manner they understand. Be aware of the names and phrases they use, and don't expect them to understand the university's structure and terms.

Seek and act on feedback from users within each of your target audiences, using surveys and user testing, to determine if they are able to find what they need on your site.

Reading and writing on the web

Writing for the web is not the same as writing for printed publications.

People read differently from a computer screen than when reading a printed publication. They read fewer words and they mainly follow an F-reading pattern which shows that:

  • People start off fresh and eager.
  • Users spend more time and are more fixated
    1. at the beginning (left side) of lines of text
    2. at the beginning of a page.
  • They quickly resort to scanning, reading fewer words.
  • They frequently do not finish the line completely.

Identifying key information

All pages of information should include who, what, when, where, why and how.

Keep it simple

For many visitors, English may not be their first language. It is important to keep everything simple to ensure that what you write can be easily understood by a wide audience.

People visit our website because they want to find information. The ease with which they find that information will determine whether they continue to use the pages. It's important that you know your target audiences and write for those audiences.

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Improving a web page

An example of a poorly written web page

Too much information clutters other valuable information.

Screenshot of UWA website with badly written content

This page does not work.

  • A paragraph that long should be broken up.
  • There are too many embedded links, and many of those are the lazy 'click here' variety.
  • It contains statements in bold (that may attract a reader's eyes but detract from the information as a whole).
  • The text contains a lot of superfluous words.
  • The image is irrelevant and draws the eye away from the page.

Same information – different editing

Compare with the following page:

A screenshot of a well designed UWA website

The information has been rewritten for a web audience.

  • It is easy on the eye, therefore easy to read.
  • The long paragraph has been divided up.
  • There are far fewer embedded links. These will take readers to central pages for information.
  • Superfluous words have been deleted.
  • Although the image is still irrelevant, the aircraft takes the reader's eyes towards the text.

Web users scan web pages rather than read them so keep your information brief and use key words on the left.

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