Rough guidelines for editing the flexivet student wiki

an_apple_for_lunch_-_2264352319_be3beb393a_b.jpgWhen many people edit the one wikispace, there's much opportunity for wonderful fruits of collaboration. There's also the danger that everyone has a different idea of what makes good web copy. For the sake of consistency, it'd be great to have agreement on a few basics.

Here's michael chalk's ideas about what makes a readable wikispace (drawn from experience, and fully up for discussion):

Naming conventions for New Pages:

  • Start each new page with the title of the section it belongs to: eg word03-format, word07-create.
  • Use a hyphen-dash rather than blank space.
  • Keep titles lower case.

Navigational structures

At a meeting of the core development group, we decided to structure the site around each application (eg microsoft word '03). michael will attempt to set up the basic structure of the site, and then people can make additional pages within that - thinking about the naming conventions above for new pages.

What makes readable web copy?

There have been many studies into writing for the web. Most agree that people browsing the web tend to skim and scan much more than people reading print copy. This is different for people with adult literacy issues however.

Page formatting:

  • Use images where you can, to lighten up the page load on visitors. Nobody likes a page full of text.
    You can find plenty of creative commons licensed photos over at eg - just make sure you search for the creative commons licensed photos and credit the photographer.
  • Break up slabs of text into smaller paragraphs.
  • Use bullet points where applicable.
  • Plenty of white space between paragraphs.. much easier on the eyes.

Use headings in a structured way:
  1. Heading 1 for the top of each page or section,
  2. Heading 2 for skill-sets within each page,
  3. Heading 3 for different videos or topics within a skill section

Language for describing video screencasts

Include a plain English, simple and easy-to-read description of any video (or link) included on the site.
Use directional language to make sure your readers know whether you're describing the video (above) or the video (below).

Other references:

A guy called Eric Reiss, over at "FatDux", has put together a very good 20 point article on writing for the web. Worth reading!!

photo credit: (creative commons at flickr) Thanks: chris schuep .