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Writing for the Web Versus Writing for Print: Are They Really So Different?

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Writing for the Web is often presented as being fundamentally different from writing for print. However, a review of the literature relating to Web writing and print writing shows that many of the guidelines proposed for the Web have a long history in print. For example, key Web writing guidelines such as “write for scannability,” “write for restless readers,” and “write in coherent chunks” can be found in the literature about print. The guidelines for writing on the Web are extensions of the guidelines for print writing, rather than new ideas. Instead of comparing writing at the level of communication medium by contrasting the Web and print, it may be more helpful for writers to use genre to compare writing styles. This would involve using communication purpose and form as the basis of any comparison, with the communication medium being secondary.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2004

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  • Technical Communication, the Society's journal, publishes articles about the practical application of technical communication theory and serves as a common arena for discussion by practitioners. Technical Communication includes both quantitative and qualitative research while showcasing the work of some of the field's most noteworthy writers. Among its most popular features are the helpful book reviews. Technical Communication is published quarterly and is free with membership.
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