Online PR guidelines for ‘print’ people

If you’re interested in content and you’re not a member already, I’d recommend joining the Content Strategy Google group. Many well-known (in content terms, at least!) names pop up regularly on there, contributing to a range of interesting discussions.

One such person is Ginny Redish, who recently responded to a query on online media centres or press offices with some best practice guidelines for press officers ‘who come from print’. I thought this was worth sharing.

Seven guidelines for online press releases

1. Make the headline a statement that gives the key message. Think ‘bite, snack, meal’ — a concept from Marilynne Rudick and Leslie O’Flahavan. The headline is the bite. 2. Make the first few sentences the snack — just a bit of elaboration of the key message. 3. Break up the piece with informative headings. Think of headings as key message bites to the next bit of information. 4. Keep paragraphs very …

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‘Universal usability’? What’s that?

I’ve stumbled across* an interesting website called Universal Usability. It’s the (free) online version of ‘Access by Design: A Guide to Universal Usability for Web Designers’, a book by Sarah Horton.

Sarah describes universal usability as going ‘one step further’ than accessibility. Not only does it try to make content and functionality accessible to all users, it tries to make them usable too.

The book covers a range of topics, from document structure to interactivity, with lots of useful examples. A number of sections interest me as an online writer, including text, images (alt-text), links and editorial style.

Much of it is common sense and is similar to recommendations made by groups such as the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). Other parts are simply best …

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