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HomeGuidelines  > 1. Trim that text!                   


How to trim your text:

1a. Cut any paper-based text by 50%.

1b. Use short words.

1c. Make some sentences short.

1d. Make most paragraphs short.

1e. Delete marketing fluff.

1f. Move vital but tangential or supplemental material.

1g. Convert repeating categories of information into tables.

1h. Beware of cutting so far that you make the text ambiguous.

1. Trim that Text!



Short text gets attention.

Cutting out words, sentences, and paragraphs can make your text live.  Think of the process as surgery on your prose.

Why bother to be brief?

On screen, the text is fuzzy, hard to make out, constantly shifting, quickly gone.

To get your point across in this distracting atmosphere, you must be quick.


Write a lot less for the screen than you would on paper.

Sure, it's OK to write long when you are sketching out your ideas. 

But, to succeed online, you must take several editorial passes through the material, tightening up.

Otherwise, folks will wave their hands in circles, complaining that you are feeding them "too much verbiage."

These guidelines help you avoid the verbiage hand dance.


Resources on brevity

Taking a Position on Brevity

Heuristic Online Text (HOT) Evaluation for Brevity


Shorten that text! (Hot Text module on brevity, PDF, 778K, or about 16 minutes at 56K)



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