Writing for the web

Texts to be published on the web must be clear and present information in a way that the reader can grasp. It is the simple texts that readers can quickly grasp and understand the content of that inspire confidence.

How do we write KTH?

It is important that all KTH employees write our name consistently. 

Determine the target group, purpose and context for your text

The reader reads your text with a goal. As a writer, therefore, one of your most important tasks is to grasp who will read the text and what the reader should do after reading the text.

Web texts that work confirm, answer and pilot onwards.

View your text with the reader's eyes when planning, structuring and processing the text.

  • What is your goal and purpose with the text?
  • What is your target audience? What are their situation and needs like?

Selection, structure and form

Lay out your text by writing what is most important to your target audience first. The content should always be structured based on the reader's needs and not based on the needs of the organisation/department.

  • Short and pithy content is best in a web context.
  • Dare to delete text that becomes excessive.
  • Open up the text with paragraph subdivision, subheadings and bullet point lists.

Use text for what is text and do not insert it into an image. Users may need to adapt the text, among other things by enlarging or selecting a different font, changing foreground and background colours or line spacing. 

The law requires: use text, not images, to display text (Webbriktlinjer, in Swedish)

Accessible language

A clear and intelligible language makes it easier for everyone to grasp the content of the website. According to the Language Act section 11, the language used in public activity must be careful, simple and comprehensible. This is a question of democracy: that everyone has access to and the right to understand what is in text written by the authorities.

"Those who wait for information always wait too long. Write what is most important first!”

Karin Forsell, Funka

The reader has more patience to read a slightly longer text if it is a news article or a report than if the text's purpose is to sign up for an event, use an administrative system or read about what applies in the workplace.

  • Use a language that is tailored to your target audience
  • If some difficult concepts must be used, they should be explained
  • Use keywords for text content in the web text
  • Write short sentences
  • Avoid technical terms and difficult words, or explain them
  • Have a personal salutation
  • Use active verbs, write "submit your form" rather than "the form is to be submitted"
  • Avoid abbreviations, or explain early in the text what the abbreviation stands for.
  • Avoid instructions that depend on sensory characteristics, such as "on the left" or "see above".

The law requires: Do not give instructions that depend on sensory characteristics (in Swedish)

Write clear headings

A good heading describes the content of the text. On the web, the headline is important for more reasons than to entice to read, because the headline is captured by search engines. 

Divide the body text into several pieces so the page is perceived as easy and readable. Write clear subheadings, which summarise the content of the paragraph.

The introduction is important for search engines

The most important thing about the introduction is to capture the reader. The introduction also does most of the work in search engines, so consider which words or phrases visitors might search for in the content of your web page and use those words in the introduction. A small part of the introduction is also shown in the search results, so it is important that it highlights what the text is about.

Bulleted lists

Some texts benefit from being written as instructions. Bulleted lists are good for showing different steps that readers should perform or things you should think about.

Links

Today we are accustomed web users and know that you should click on a link. Link texts should therefore be clear and contain words that indicate what the article is about.

When you are finished, proofread the text:

  • Is what is most important first?
  • Is the purpose clear?
  • Does the content of the text answer the questions who, what, when, where, how, why?
  • Does the headline attract you to read on?
  • Are there long sentences in the text that need to be shortened?
  • Are all words spelt correctly?

Should the text be translated into English?

Information aimed at both Swedish and non-Swedish speakers should be available in both Swedish and English.

Advice when ordering translations

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Page responsible:Sara Öhman
Belongs to: KTH Intranet
Last changed: May 15, 2019