Web-based editing requires an understanding of screen-based reading patterns and physiological responses, as on-screen reading and assimilation of information is very different to that of print.
On-screen readers rely on the site’s navigation system to orient themselves rather than table of contents, chapter numbers, page numbers and indexes. Readers of on-screen material absorb information differently; therefore, for best effect, screen writing must be structured differently to writing for print-based publications.
Eye movement patterns differ when reading on-screen so this must be taken into account when designing content and structure. Readers of on-screen material scan information rather than read in great detail.
Editing and proofreading a website or web pages involves checking that all these elements of a website are in place. Any errors discovered are identified by way of a soft-copy content edit as well as a web-page report.
Web-based editing includes checking elements such as:
- Functionality: does the site contain useful, relevant information about products and services?
- Navigation: are all site areas (menus, hyperlinks, site maps, clickable image maps etc.) reached with a minimum number of mouse clicks? Are site visitors easily redirected from links back to the website? Does each page have a company identifier (persistent navigation)—like a logo—leading back to the site’s home page?
- Resolutions: do all site pages display correctly at all anticipated screen resolutions? Do all site pages appear best at the target screen resolution?
- Maintenance: are the site’s file names and file structure easily understood so that site navigation is as user-friendly as possible?
- Layout: is the overall layout user-friendly or overly complicated?
- Language usage: is the language appropriate for a wide cross-section of readers? General copy editing services are utilised here.