Web Writing That Works!

           A Project of
           The Communication Circle

Guidelines Rants Patterns Poems Services Classes Press Blog Resources About Us Site Map

HomeGuidelines > Resources > Take a Position > 5. Cognitive Burdens



My Simon

Visa, MasterCard, American Express

5. Taking a Position on Cognitive Burdens

What’s your opinion of the cognitive burdens on the following sites? Please include generous samples and URLs in your position statement.

My Simon

Examine the prose at http://www.mysimon.com, a buyer’s guide. Remember, if you have to think, that counts as a cognitive burden. Well, at least if you feel confused or in doubt, and have to try to figure something out, then the writer has failed to be clear enough. Please look at three different pages on the site, and report on your overall impression.

Basically, you are on the prowl to see whether or not the pages are following our guidelines, and if not, to show them how they ought to revise their text, to be in full compliance. Send your compliments or suggestions to the site.

Visa, Mastercard, American Express

Look at one of these areas:

Clear enough? Does the text make you scratch your head? Does the text follow our guidelines, and reduce cognitive burdens?

If you see ways that the text could be improved, please quote an example and show your rewrite. Arrange these rewrites under the guidelines in this chapter. Send your suggestions to the site.


To make your text easier to understand:

5a. Reduce the number of clauses per sentence.

5b. Blow up nominalizations and noun trains.

5c. Watch out for ambiguous phrases a user might have to debate.

5d. Surface the agent and action, so users don't have to guess.

5e. Make a positive statement.

5f. Reduce scrolling.

5g. Let users print or save the entire document at once.

Resources on thoughtlessness

Taking a Position on Thoughtlessness

Heuristic Online Text (H. O. T.) Evaluation of Cognitive Burdens




Home | Guidelines | Rants | Patterns | Poems | Services | Classes | Press | Blog |
Resources | About Us | Site Map

Web Writing that Works!
 © 2003 Jonathan and Lisa Price
The Communication Circle
Discuss at HotText@yahoogroups.com
Email us directly at ThePrices@ThePrices.com
Order Hot Text (the book) from Amazon