- Featured Columnists
Table of Contents
- Web Basics
- Publishing on the Web: Putting Files on the Server
- Web Design Process and Workflow
- Project Management
- Mark My WWWord: HTML and XHTML
- Standards Compliance
- Meta Tags and Search
- Enhancing Web Page Interaction
- Web Graphics
- Web Page Optimization
- RSS: What’s it for?
- Emphasize Hyper in Hypertext
- Give 'em Something to Talk About
- What's a product without a selling point?
- Site Matters
- Organize This!
- Inverted Pyramid – No Toppling
- Beauty Is in the Eye of the Beholder
- Whizzy Things and Other Distracting Objects
- Don't Make Me Read Twice
- What the Font Does It Say?
- No Flaunting Creative or Fancy Lexicon, Better Yet Cut to the Chase
- Cut the Fat
- Text Harmony and Understanding (and Consistency)
- Peace and Link Love
- Tale of Two Proofs
- Just the Facts, Ma'am
- Books and e-Books
- Online Resources
- Overview of Servers
- Server Programming Basics
- Careers in Web Design
- Intellectual Property for Web Designers
Text Harmony and Understanding (and Consistency)
Last updated Oct 17, 2003.
When I first started writing about the Web, I could never remember if words like Internet and Web were capitalized and how to properly write "e-mail." Using Wired style: Principles of English usage in the digital age, the dictionary, and other style guides, I got my act together... sort of. Technically, "E-mail" is the way to do it, but no one wants to add two keystrokes to capitalize and add a dash. Just about every format is regularly used: "email," "e-mail," and "E-mail." It's up to the people behind the Web site to pick which to use and stick with it. Content using multiple variations of a word might be perceived as unprofessional and unorganized.
Some news sites capitalize headlines and others do it in sentence case. Neither is right or wrong. As long as the style remains the same throughout the site, it's acceptable. The only thing not to do use all upper case letters because it's harder to read and a few people feel like you're screaming at them. However, to complicate things, when using text-based newsletters and articles, it's okay to use all capital letters due to the few formatting options available. Webreference and Ezine-tips newsletters do a fine job of formatting the text.
Figure 8 ABC News puts its headlines in title case.
Figure 9 Dallas Morning News puts its headlines in sentence case.
Figure 10 Webreference newsletter mixes its headline style in its text-based newsletter for improved readability and information chunking.
Having a style guide outlining organization rules, preferences, and guidelines surrounding text, content, structure, and formatting is valuable. Organizations that don't have the resources to put a guide together can purchase style books or use the Web to find one like the Yale Style Manual (http://www.webstyleguide.com/) and use it as the basis to create a brief version.
Tip #8: Be consistent.