Webifying Large Documents, Part 2.
Intro and First Steps
We have all had the experience of landing on a web page to only find an unstructured, long, complex document or process. Let’s face it; it’s an awful experience. Without any structure or guidance, long materials, especially on the web, tend to be daunting and have users hit the “back” button rather than anything else. If you want to get your message across, or have users interact with your site, you need to find a way to make the experience positive…even fun. This doesn’t have to be an exercise in insanity, but it does require following some basic processes.
In a perfect world, the writer is web-savvy and has provided materials that are written to be web-ready, but unfortunately this is rarely the case.
When you’ve been given the task of webifying long materials, there are two main groups you need to consider: the first, and most important, are your users, and the second are the designers and programmers who will actually create the web page(s). Getting the right information to the second group will make it much easier to create happy users who love coming to your website and will come back for more.
With the processes outlined here your designers and/or programmers can work with long and complex content, and create great user experiences, no matter the length of the material. And, even better, your authors can keep these in mind while writing and produce content of any length that is easily webified.
Step 1: Discover the Author’s Intent
If the author is available, it is invaluable to talk to him or her and find out what the original intent was for this document or process. Having that background information will enable to understand what elements are most important, what are secondary and tertiary, and give you a solid understanding of what the whole piece is for. This enables you to make decisions during the production process that support the material.
For the sake of clarity and making this document easily digestible in a blog format, I have split it into several parts. However, you can download the entire doc here: