Lynda Felder’s Writing for the Web: Creating Compelling Web Content Using Words,Pictures, and Sound is an instructional text that enlightened me to a betterunderstanding of my audience to further enhance my writing. The book is wellorganized which makes it easy to read and navigate through. Overall, the bookis divided into 14 chapters that focus on relevant topics such as Chapter 3:Working with Images, Chapter 5: Adding Sound and Chapter 13: Re-vision (Felder,vii).
The book is also fun to read as it keeps the reader interestedthroughout; with enticing subtexts, pictures and formatting. The chosenexamples and word choices make technical topics, such as adding sound or motion,interesting. For example, one of my favourite quotes by Samuel Beckett, “Evertried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again.
Fail better” (Felder, 47)was included in the text among other motivational/humorous quotes. And furtheron in Chapter 7: Writing Succinctly, it says “If any man wishes to write in aclear in his thoughts; and if any would write in a noble style, let him firstpossess a noble soul” (Fedler, 84) by Goethe. Moreover, the book is 180 pagesin size—small and affordable—which makes it the perfect size.
Thepurpose of this book it to cover the basics for web writing. Felder highlightsthe basics for many different areas of web writing such as adding sound andmotion, using rhetoric, writing blogs and overall revision. Following Felder’smethods is bound to better your writing. The book also encourages to trydifferent types of writing styles and it is formatted in such a way where thereader can zoom in on the specific writing style or concern they have. Withthat in mind, Felder encourages us to observe and practice beyond our horizons.At the end of each chapter, Felder has included writing prompts and exercisesfor free writing and practice.
For example, at the end of chapter 2: BestPractices for Writing for the web, the writing challenge is to revise your favouriteauthor’s sentence. In other words, find a quote, and revise it so it followsthe best practices from the web (Felder, 30). This exercise is unique as itallows the reader to search the internet for a quote and revise it themselvesto follow the practices they have learned. Moving on in the book, at the end ofChapter 8: Writing with Good Style and Good Grammar, the challenge exercise includeswriting a passage about a specific grammar rule the reader finds difficult toabide by (Fedler, 106). Thebook is well thought out as it allows the reader to follow their instinct. Themanual is keen on teaching writers how to revise and better their writing tofurther help their audience understand and relate to it better. For example,Felder has included a table that compares an instructional writing with 29words versus 6 words saying that “readers will resent hand-holding andexcessive instructions” (Felder, 85).
However, my one complaint is that sometopics are repetitive and even though the basics are covered, keywords andheadlines are such topics that are covered in most web writing books, but weremissing from Felder’s. Webwriting is also more elaborative and creative as it is open to socialcommunication through the various mediums on the web such as Facebook, blogs,and twitter where everyone can either subscribe to, leave a comment, complete asurvey or share. Web writing has made it easier for the writer to reach abigger and various audience level of all niches. Web writing also specificallytailored to focus on user needs as it takes away the hassle of searching textfor keywords that the reader is interested in. With keyword search engines suchas Bing, Yahoo and Google, the reader is able to simply search for any writingpeace based on the information they are after. In Chapter 12: Writing blogs, Felderoutlines that “let your readers know that your welcome their comments…Make sureyou moderate all comments to ensure a safe, fair environment” also encouragereader comments but also “ignore rants and flames” (Felder, 149) to avoidgetting caught up in drama. Also the readers browsing the web prefer shorterparagraphs and brief information. Felder states in Chapter 5: Adding Sound that”Dick Tracy Talk, information dumpingoccurs when the speaker just dumps information on the listener that the speakerwould not actually say” (Felder, 65).
With traditional writing, it is very easyto get carried away and be repetitive and over explain or elaborate oninstructions to “babysit” the reader. With web writing, the writer can also setcertain character or word limits and allow multiple edits at a time forultimate feedback and revision to avoid the DickTracy Talk as Felder puts it. Moreover, with traditional writing, writersare restricted to text whereas, web writing allows the writer to expand areasand use sounds, motions and illustrations.
For example, in Felder’s Chapter 3:Working with images she states that, “using an image to portray a concept helpsreaders understand the idea or thought and can also deepen the experience”(Felder, 39). Felder alsoemphasises a lot on knowing your audience and the targeting the ultimateaudience. Web audiences also differ significantly, since web users rely onsearch engine optimization (SEO) which allows the reader to search usingkeywords, which makes the article more visible to searchers. Felder alsoemphasis about setting the appropriate tone to interact with the reader. Themedia should serve a purpose and tell a story to build on content. Felder’s Writing for the Web relates to thecourse content as it shines light on what has changed and how writing hasemerged from the past.
Also it sheds light on the audience development andinterest changes as well. In chapter 4: Adding Motion, Felder says “its onlyrecent advantages in technologies that have given you the capability to easilyadd animation and videos to your web content, and readers are wild about it” (Felder,47). To conclude,Felder has narrowed down the basics for web writing with concise informationalong with visuals. The reader can easily navigate the text with straight tothe point chapters that are compelling and concise with the information theyare looking for.
Moreover, Felder outlined the text with tables, lists andillustrations to outline the data without overwhelming the reader with too muchinformation. Reading the text has provided me with many guidelines that I willkeep in mind to incorporate in my writing to make it better—especially whenrevising.