Big four prove their worth

QWICKIT is based on this premise: you can double the usability of web content by teaching writers just four things. This week my students have demonstrated that this super-streamlined approach works—brilliantly.

My online students have just one week's study to get the message. For the paper Professional Writing and Editing, they have to write a feature article, a proposal and three pages of web content as well as copy-editing another student's work. That means they get only one lecture on writing web content.

Naturally I focus on the big four: writing correct headlines, summaries, links, and plain language. To check their work, students can use a few quick tests for quality web content—for example, the 3-second test and the ID test. (The tests are also part of QWICKIT.)

Here's my meticulous statistical analysis of the results—well, OK, my overwhelming impression. Bingo! The vast majority of my students' web content is vastly superior to the vast majority of content I have seen on any intranet.

I'm not saying they all scored an A+. But hey, using the same standards, I would grade most of the genuine intranet content I have seen as D or E, no joke. Few students had written online content before, yet nobody failed, and mostly—they got it! They did it! They wrote usable content!

Graduate Diploma in Information Design at Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology

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