10 tips for web writers and editors
- Highlight important information with lists
Use vertical lists (bulleted or numbered) to draw attention to an important list of items or steps. If a list is not worth drawing attention to, use a comma-separated list within a sentence.
- Label or introduce lists
Use a heading or lead-in sentence to provide context for a list.
- Write list items in a parallel style
Lists are faster and easier to read when each item is written in the same way.
- Start each item with a different word
Move repeated words or phrases to the end of a lead-in sentence or rewrite to avoid the repetition.
- Begin items with the important words
Help users see what’s in each item by starting with meaningful words.
- Write items concisely
Wordy lists can lose the benefit of list formatting when they start looking more like paragraphs.
- Avoid long lists
Long lists can look overwhelming. Where necessary, break them into a series of shorter lists.
- Avoid pages full of lists
Use headings and paragraphs to break the visual monotony of several series of lists.
- Format lists with the appropriate list style
Use bulleted points when the order or number of items is not important. Otherwise use a numbered list. Always use proper styles. Never format lists manually using dashes, asterisks or numbers with spaces.
- Never use list styles just to indent text
If you need to indent text, get your web team to develop an indented text style. Never misuse HTML tags to achieve a visual effect.