Web Content Production

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Web Content Production

Agency Gateway


    Web Content Production 错误!使用“开始”选项卡将 Heading 1 应用于要在此处显示的文字。

     Writing Process, Research, Audience, Chunking and Labeling, Writing Mechanics, Consistency, Graphics


    Last Revised May 17, 2010 ? 2004 Allstate Insurance, Northbrook, IL Page 3 of 16

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WRITING FOR AG 3. Identify and define the audience needs ? Organize questions before meeting or (Audience Analysis). phoning. Write down questions before the For most AG content contributors, writing is an meeting and take notes during the meeting. 4. Organize the material (Chunking and Labeling). occasional, difficult duty. This section is designed to ? Use e-mail to follow-up. Carefully craft help you be more productive as well as keep AG 5. Write the material (Writing Mechanics). questions to specifics easily answered in a content clean and useful for end-users. reply. Context is important! 6. Format the material (Consistency). ? Ask the SME to review the material for Agency Gateway Writing Standards and 7. Review the material (Editing, Proofreading and accuracy. Procedures use a modified form of structured AG Review). Research Resources writing, loosely modeled a system called the This process maximizes your time. Information Mapping Method? from Information ? Does AG already host the content? Did Mapping, Inc., Waltham, MA. you check Countrywide? Home Office? Why Are You Writing? ? Information is divided into small, Other Regions? What about related To determine what the content needs to do, define manageable pieces called 'chunks.' material that may provide important its purpose. Ask the content owner or Subject ancillary information for the user? Did you ? The system divides information into seven Matter Expert (SME) what she wants the reader to check related names and terms? categories. do or know after reading the content. That's what ? Does this information exist elsewhere? ? Each piece of information is 'chunked' and the content needs to accomplish. Can you get a copy? Does it need revision? labeled. What changes? RESEARCH ? Chunks are organized into a hierarchy.

    ? Allstate Intranet; use the search function ? Terms are consistent. You need to understand the subject matter and find all sorts of relevant or background (including ramifications, how the ? Graphics and associated documents are information. process/application/Web site works, and where you integrated. When the research is complete, you will able to and your reader can get additional information). answer these questions: Related Resources

    ? What information does the reader need? This may be a simple or extensive step in the ? Appendix B: Writing Standards process. The content owner's requirements and ? If you don't understand the material, your ? Appendix C: Word Substitution Chart assumptions about the audience will define this audience won't. ? Appendix J: Helpful Links phase of the writing project. ? In what order does the audience need the information? SMEs: Care and Feeding WRITING PROCESS ? In what form(s) does the reader need the

    The content owner is or should be able to identify a 1. Identify the content owner (and/or subject information?

    Subject Matter Expert (SME) resource. A SME is an matter expert). Define the content's purpose ? Who, what, when, where, why, how, what expert. Your SME will be a busy person. Here are (Why are You Writing?). quality, (Who does what, when, how and three ways to make the best use of this resource under what circumstances, and, why)? 2. Gather and understand the material the reader person: needs (Research).

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AUDIENCE Expert ? Your audience finds your content either

     browsing or searching the AG Web site. ? Knows his field intimately. Also known as That means chunking is especially Each reader has expectations. Consider your own a 'SME,' or Subject Matter Expert important (see Chunking). expectations when you begin to read a(n): ? Does want complex, detailed, and ? Putting two pieces of remotely or even ? Newspaper complete information. mildly related information in a single piece ? Textbook ? An excellent resource to review your of content will make it difficult to find and material prior to publication. ? Novel even more difficult to use. ? Data tables, theories of operation, Your readers have the same expectations of your ? Discovering your content in a browse is schemas, logic tables, etc. In mixed content piece. You also have multiple audiences dependent on who the last person who audience content, such information is you need to satisfy. approves the DCR using the AG better used as references or links to other Taxonomy. This is why knowing and using You need to know: resources the AG Taxonomy Guidelines and ? Your reader's expectation when reading ? Technician Standards is so important. the material ? Applies knowledge in a practical way. ? Finding your content in a search is ? How the reader will find the information Knowledge level is low to medium. dependent on the title and description you ? How the reader will actually use the ? Step action tables, pragmatic, examples, give your DCR as well as keywords. information and simple phrasing are key. ? What technical/language level (jargon, Lay Audience Types: vocabulary level, and style) your audience ? Limited technical knowledge. These four general audience divisions can help you needs address the needs and wants of each particular ? Doesn't want or need the philosophy or What You Already Know type: background. ? Your reader will be reading your content ? Step by step instructions, screen captures, Management on a computer screen. 'how-to'' information

    ? Decision-making responsibilities with ? Writing for the web means short, simple some technical background. sentences, active voice (see Writing ? Usually prefers summarized information Standards) whenever possible, and (hence the 'Executive Summary') summarize, never sermonize. Readers

    bring specific expectations to the web. ? Don't tell this audience how to make a clock when she asks, "What time is it?" ? Long pages are difficult to read on a PC screen. ? Lists, tables, drawings, pictures and direct language (Note: at this writing, no images ? Web readers expect pages to read the are allowed on TeamSite, but can reside way someone speaks rather than formal on regional servers). written language that reads like a contract (upload a document folks can print out in such situations!).

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    ? Fact- A statement presented without CHUNKING AND LABELING ? Writers use graphics, diagrams, and tables ? Use the tips described above. supporting evidence. It's assumed to be integral to the text. ? Use bolded text for labels, table titles, true. ? Writers design documents to include image captions and headers. Chunking ? Principle-A statement of what should or necessary information. Using chunking, ? Follow Allstate Corporate style but the The hardest part of writing is organizing your shouldn't be done. A guideline, rule or labeling, organization, and meeting the basic writing guidelines in this section can thoughts (information) so someone else can access recommendation. Something that's reader's expectations meet this goal. also apply. it, decipher it, and use it. At that point, you have generally true. ? Writers organize and group small groups content. A fast and easy means of organizing your Label/Headings Guidelines of information into a hierarchy and then content is to 'chunk' it. ? Use headings and labels liberally to help One 'chunk' is one information type and its relevant label the group. the reader find information faster. information. Then you label the chunk. You can chunk using: Helping the Reader ? Write concise, but clear labels and titles. ? Structure a physical thing, or something Answer these questions for your reader: General Chunking Rules ? Use consistent phrasing within one that can be divided into parts with physical, ? What's the main point of this content? document or a group of connected identifiable boundaries. A picture or ? One (1) 'chunk' of information is normally: ? Why is this content important to me and documents. diagram often helps this concept. one to seven sentences, one diagram, one what I do? image or drawing, one table, one list (with ? Use consistent headings and labels when ? Classification Sorting things or groups ? What should I do? two to seven items)- all with associated the body of work calls for it. of things into classes and sub-classes. labels ? What do I need to know to do what I'm ? Label too much rather than too little (tables, ? Concept A group of physical objects, supposed to do? ? The number of sentences or number of sub-paragraphs, lists). conditions, relations, events or ideas items in a list is somewhat flexible, but sharing unique critical attributes not Using Labeling & Headings always consider your audience. Once you shared by other groups. You can use Labels help readers skip over information they don't reach nine or ten, it's time to re-organize, words or symbols to refer to these need. When used consistently, labels increase split your chunk. attributes. "time to target" significantly. In AG, labeling is ? Appearance: Chunks are physically ? Procedure- A set of steps someone limited to: separate. In TeamSite DCTs, this is done performs to get a specific outcome. This ? DCR Titles, see DCR Titles and with separate paragraphs, includes making decisions. Descriptions bulleted/numbered lists, and separating ? Process-A process is a series of events content into discrete DCRs. Use tables, ? DCR Descriptions, see DCR Titles and with a purpose or result. What happens text boxes, and nested bullets/ numbered Descriptions during the successive phases time, or a lists in converted PDF documents. ? There are Two levels of headers in Article description of how it works. Process is ? Chunk labels can be content dependent and Webpage DCRs also used to describe what happens as the (Variable Policy Application Requirements, result of a procedure. The second ? Accurately describe the content in the How to xxxx) and content independent sentence in the following example is subsection. (background, definition, example, criteria). "process." ? One word is best, a three to five word ? Writers use similar words, labels, formats, ? Click File. The File menu appears. phrase is OK- do not use a full sentence- organization, and sequences for similar use a phrase- nouns are usually better content. than any other part of speech for this use.

    For Documents housed in TeamSite:

    Last Revised May 17, 2010 ? 2004 Allstate Insurance, Northbrook, IL Page 6 of 16

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    WRITING MECHANICS See Appendix D: Homonyms for a list of common

    Subject-Verb and Pronoun Agreement words that have sound a likes that can trip you if

     you don't concentrate. This section deals with selecting the words, putting

    The subject of a sentence is the person, place or the words together, making the words look

    thing that performs the action the verb describes. Possessives and Plurals consistent and easy to decipher.

    The verb is the word that describes an action (like A possessive shows ownership- usually shown with Obstacles to Understanding 'write') or a state of being (like 'is'). For example: an apostrophe and an s. An example is the word One of the writer's primary responsibilities is to Mary's. A plural shows the existence of more than make certain the reader can quickly and easily The City Council voted to install sewers along Main one and usually ends with an s. An example is understand the information presented. Chunking is Street. screwdrivers. The problem comes with acronyms one way to meet this goal. The other is eliminating and abbreviations. Some folks forget to apply the or mitigating complexity. What makes writing In this sentence, Council is the subject (that's the same rules to acronyms and abbreviations: complex? thing that performed the action). Voted is the verb. 'Council' is a singular noun, which means it takes PFRs- more than one PFR. ? Poor grammar the singular form of the verb. PFR's- an item owned or used by a single PFR.

     PFRs' - an item owned or used by more than one ? Large words The City Council voted to install sewers along Main ? Unusual words Street. They also approved a bond issue to pay for Do not place an apostrophe-s after an acronym or ? Complicated sentence structure- the improvement. abbreviation unless you want to signify possession.

     ? Passive voice

    Look OK to you? Check the pronoun in the second Its, It's and Its sentence. It's they. 'They' is the third person plural Grammar pronoun. In this case it replaces Council. Council is Again, keep it simple: The only time to add an

    a singular noun. Wrong. apostrophe is when using the contraction for 'it is.' Nothing makes a writer look worse than basic

     grammar mistakes.

    The two sentences can be re-written- here are two Word/Phrase Selection

    ways: Some glaring errors seen include: ? Big words/ugly phrases interfere with ? Subjects and verbs disagreeing understanding. See Appendix C: Word The City Council voted to install sewers along Main ? Improper pronoun use Substitution Charts to get a better idea of Street. It also approved a bond issue to pay for the this concept. ? Homonym used instead of the correct improvement.

    word ? Use jargon for a single, identifiable

    audience only. The City Council voted to install sewers along Main ? Possessives and Plurals improperly used

    Street. The Council members also approved a bond ? Avoid buzzwords. They may not be in use ? Nested clauses issue to pay for the improvement. by are in your reader's area. Partner is not ? Its, Its, It's a verb. Nor is PDF. It's not a waste Homonyms repository, it's a dump.

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    James read the book well. But then, this is true of imperfect Word Consistency ? Keep your sentences simple and The guitar had been played by Suzanne. tenses, too. declarative. Subject-Verb-Predicate, It's important to use terms consistently. This may go Subject-Verb-Predicate, Subject-Verb-? The 'actual' subject of the sentence is against what you were taught. But again, consider Suzanne is actually 'playing' the guitar, right? So Predicate. actually the Direct Object, but the writer your audience. You are not entertaining a teacher the rewrite is: can infer the Direct Object (or actual ? Never, ever use Passive Voice. for a grade- you are trying to transmit information to subject of the sentence)-which is why this a variety of audiences quickly and effectively. ? If you absolutely, positively have to go Note: The original example use past imperfect verb is such a weak structure. Variety of terms for the same item is not the spice through contortions in using Active Voice, of life. Suzanne had played the guitar. The key is the subject: Figure out what the keep the Passive Voice sentence short tense. This is problematic since it is not a simple SUBJECT is doing or not doing! and do not use a clause in the sentence.

    construction and makes things complicated. The Sentence Structure Passive and Active Voice real rewrite would be: Suzanne played the guitar- What's Wrong with Passive Voice? In an effort to generate media coverage, a powerful What is Active Voice? simple past tense. ? It takes a reader longer to decipher and tool in creating sales, we recently partnered with Bob will be honored by a gift. understand such sentences. Remember LIMRA International to conduct a survey of the top Active Voice means the sentence's subject This one's tricky, and we changed it from the when you had to pad a research paper in 25 metropolitan areas to identify which U.S. cities performs the action. Simply- the subject does the example sentences in Passive and Active Voice. In school? This is the sentence structure to are the most and least protected in terms of life verb. this case, we really don't know who the actual use. It uses more words than the insurance coverage and adequacy. Examples: subject is- "a gift honored Bob" is unsatisfactory comparable Active Voice sentence. and dodges the issue of who is actually honoring ? Jane reads the book. This is a fine example of nested clauses- so many ? It's a weak sentence structure- the writer Robert. The real subject is inferred. Most of the ? Mary is riding the horse. and so improperly rendered that it's extremely can 'weasel' out of telling the reader who time you can figure out who or what the subject is difficult to decipher, isn't it? or what is actually performing the action. ? Jon had been at the store. by context surrounding the sentence. ? What are you hiding? This use hides ? Jennifer will go to the show. Here are some ways to keep it simple: meaning by hiding the real subject of the What is Passive Voice? Paragraphs ? Express one and only one idea in a sentence. Long paragraphs are daunting and can be more sentence. See Writing Standards: Sentences for a different Passive Voice means the sentence's subject is ? If the sentence is more than 18 words or treatment of Passive and Active Voice. Bob's friends will honor him with a gift. being acted upon. Simply- something/someone so, think about splitting the large sentence other than the subject else is doing the verb. physically challenging to read. They can also bury into smaller sentences. Triggers that How to Change Passive to Active Voice Examples: key information in a sea of words. Think about the should make you think about chopping first time you had to read Washington Irving. ? Bob will be honored by a gift from his (chunking, if you will) include: 'and' (if not 8. Identify the Subject of the sentence or the noun friends. used in a list), 'but,' 'however,' and The preferred method of establishing paragraphs is that's actually 'doing' the verb. ? Jack's face was lit by a yellow light. 'incidentally' (if it's 'incidental' we don't to chunk the information (see Chunking and 9. Reword the sentence so the Subject is actually ? The guitar had been played by Suzanne. need it in AG). Labeling) to logical (and, hopefully short) performing the verb. You will usually delete the information bites. ? The book was read by James. ? Don't use clauses. auxiliary verb (some form of 'to be') Consistency Passive Voice is characterized by: ? If you absolutely, positively need to use a Your audience needs some help. Consistency is a Let's look at a couple of examples: clause, put the clause at the beginning or ? Some form of the verb to be (used as an key. No, it's not the refuge of the small mind! The book was read by James. end of the sentence, never in the middle. auxiliary verb), but the gerund ('ing' form of Expectations, remember? James is the actual subject of the sentence, since the verb) always uses this construction as he's the one reading:

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    Using Graphics: Graphics Guidelines Writers maintain consistency in a variety of ways: ? London ? They will go to ? Weigh the value of the graphic against the Graphics reinforce to enhance the user's London ? Consistent terminology throughout a ? Pittsburgh system resources and space it uses. In understanding. 50% of the adult population learns document or series of documents ? They will go to other words, how much is it really helping? better from pictures and other graphics rather than Pittsburgh ? Structured writing techniques ? Label the graphic. from text. Major formatting ? Consistent and light use of formatting Major formatting ? Put the graphic in the document where it's categories include: Formatting categories include: Note: At this writing, AG Standards do not allow needed. ? Bullets use of graphics, except in two instances. See ? Bullets, numbered You cannot control formatting factors since AG Tables Appendix A: Technical Requirements. lists, and bolding automatically formats. But you can control these ? Numbered lists

     factors for documents loaded into TeamSite. Tables separate and organize information. Tables ? Bolding Selecting Graphics: allow your reader to locate small chunks of ? Font Table 1 Bullet List Examples information and show relationships between ? Use graphics to enhance the point, but not ? Capitalization information contained in cells. to make it. Make sure the graphic sends a ? Justification clear message. Numbered List Guidelines Tables may not display properly on a screen. ? Text width on the page/screen ? As a general guide, screen only images Use numbered lists when: should be 100 dpi (dots per inch) and Bulleted List Guidelines ? Sequence is important (steps) See Webpage DCT: Visual Editor: Tables for printable images between 150 and 300 dpi. Use bulleted lists when the content includes: details. ? Order is important (do not use numbers ? PC screens are nominally capable of 96 when order doesn't matter) ? Two or more things. There is no such thing ? Use tables to show relationship(s). dpi at VGA resolution (640 by 480 pixels)- as a single bullet- a list is two or more ? You will refer to items by number later ? Design tables for convenience of the even at this low resolution, printing is things. (consider using the alphabet) reader, not the writer. respectable. ? Short phrases. Allstate style restricts numbered lists to procedures. ? Organize and include too much ? All laser printers can handle 300 dpi ? A list of items that have equal importance. information. graphics.

    Bolding, Underlining, Italics, Color ? A list for which order is not key. But use Label, title, make headings, explain even ? If the graphic is not at the resolution use an introductory sentence. Do it (label) some order whenever possible. Examples required, you need to resize it in a Use bolding, underlining, italics and color lightly to more than once. of order include: graphics program. Remember increasing either emphasize information or show the nature of ? Build the table into the body of the the size of a graphic means the file size its content. ? Alphabetical document. and physical dimensions printed/displayed ? Importance will grow proportionately. It is very easy to overdo the text formatting and ? Worker thought-process order decrease the impact you try to achieve. ? Use a graphic only when it helps your ? Begin each bullet with the most important reader. In other words, don't use a graphic word. It is easy to overuse these formats. Use only when simply because it you have it, it looks required and use it consistently. great or it adds life to an otherwise drab Examples Of Examples of Proper Use: page. Improper Use: Note: AG standards do not allow use of underlining They will go to: in any content. AG also requires bolding and all ? They will go to

    capital letters to the minimum required. France ? France

    Last Revised May 17, 2010 ? 2004 Allstate Insurance, Northbrook, IL Page 9 of 16

Web Content Production 错误!使用“开始”选项卡将 Heading 1 应用于要在此处显示的文字。

Tables, Bullets and Numbered Lists

Last Revised May 17, 2010 ? 2004 Allstate Insurance, Northbrook, IL Page 10 of 16

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