“If Your Web Content Is Good, You Don’t Need FAQs”

That’s what a participant said during a web writing course I taught recently for the Federal Library and Information Network at the Library of Congress. “We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ FAQs” I’ve heard this opinion before. Lots of people object to websites that segregate answers to users’ questions in a long sprawling FAQs section. Instead, […]


Action Buttons Confuse When There’s Nothing For The User To Do

This strident pop-up from my bank (note the huge exclamation point) has a simple message: Sandy Spring Bank is improving my ebiz reports. I’m happy. And they’ve provided me a nice little bulleted list of the four ways the new reports will be better than the old ones. Now, most web users like to click […]


Social Media Press Release: A New Approach to the Old Problem of Getting Noticed

When more than 50 people lost their lives in a train wreck in 1906, Ivy Lee—the father of public relations—issued the first-ever news release, a public statement about the crash from Pennsylvania Railroad officials. The New York Times was so impressed with this innovative approach to corporate communications that it published the release verbatim. Getting […]


Web Writing That’s Hardwired to Confuse

Here in DC, our Metro system has had a rough summer: a tragic train accident in June killed 9 people and injured 76. Throughout this summer of investigations, track repairs, and service disruptions, Metro has used Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, eAlerts, and LunchTalk Online Chats to help commuters get current information so they can travel from […]


Wikipedia: A Bold Experiment in Community

I’m a big fan of collaborative writing. So no wonder I found Andrew Lih’s book about the world’s largest collaborative writing project fascinating: The Wikipedia Revolution: How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World’s Greatest Encyclopedia. Wikipedia is often my first read when I need a quick explanation or overview of a topic. I knew […]