• Make content scannable. Web visitors are task oriented: they skim and scan. If they don’t recognize useful, relevant content, they often move on. Think bite-size chunks of information: headers, links, highlighted text, bulleted lists, captions, and pull quotes. If you are listing three or more items in a sentence or paragraph, consider using a bulleted list instead. For instructions or long lists, consider using numbered lists for easy reference. Keep the items in a bulleted or numbered list relatively short; listed items should not be long paragraphs of text.
  • Avoid web clichés and navigational instructions. There is no need to tell users how to move around your site, or how to get from one page to the next. If your content is clear, users will know how to get to where they want to go.

No: To learn more about the MS in Robotics Engineering at WPI, visit the robotics engineering department site and click on the MS button.
Yes: Learn more about the MS in Robotics Engineering at WPI.

No: Click here to register for the Fall Open House.
Yes: Register for the Fall Open House.

  • Do not underline copy. Underlined copy looks like a link, which can confuse and frustrate your users.
  • Do not overuse bold and italics. Use these too much and you’ll achieve the opposite effect of what you had intended; if everything is emphasized, nothing stands out.
  • Use tables sparingly. Tables are not mobile-friendly and should be avoided when possible. If there’s another way to present the same data, it would be preferable to using a table. Tables should NOT be used to lay out content. 
  • Write meaningful headers and titles. Readers rely on headers to navigate on-page content. Choose words for headers and subheads that clearly describe the content they introduce. 
  • Use headers appropriately. In Drupal, you have several options in the Format dropdown menu: Heading 2, 3, 4 (also known as H2, H3, H4 tags). While heading styles are useful elements for structuring web pages and can help break your content into manageable chunks for your site visitors, they should be used in order due to accessibility requirements and 508 compliance. Do not skip headings or place them out of order just because you prefer the style of that heading. Overusing headings makes it more difficult for search engines to determine what content is actually relevant; consider bold and italics instead of overusing headings.

    • Heading 2 for section headings

    • Heading 3 for paragraph headings

    • Heading 4 to apply emphasis to titles

  • Use common language. It is essential for findability and SEO (search engine optimization) to use the same words and phrases your readers do. Avoid catchphrases and unfamiliar technical terminology. When creating page titles, headers, list items, and links, choose keywords carefully. (See more about SEO)
  • Include valuable links. If additional useful, relevant, and appropriate content exists elsewhere—on or off your website—link to it. Consider what content elsewhere might add value to your content and improve usability. Make it easy for your users: when you mention other WPI departments or offices on your site, link to them.

    Note: Links to websites outside of wpi.edu (including Wordpress sites) should be set up to open in a new window; we don't want users to have to “click out” of the WPI website. Learn how to create a link that opens in a new window.
  • Link phrases rather than single words. Because inline links stand out within blocks of text, they are an important scanning element. To improve scanning, keep link text short and concise, using relevant keywords related to both the destination page as well as the surrounding content. Links should give users a clear idea of what they can expect to find on the page to which you are directing them.

    Rather than using “Click here” or “For more information,” link a phrase that incorporates contextual information, such as “For more human resource benefit information.” Contextual hyperlinks help users visiting your site with screen reading technologies and help search engines crawling your site.