The Web is a much more fluid and informal medium than print; similarly, Web visitors are more often looking for soundbites of information or quick answers rather than dense reading material.
- Do not simply move print content onto your Web pages. Instead, write content in the most concise manner possible that can be quickly and efficiently read on screen by a user.
- If your content is likely to be read online, it is generally acceptable to create shorter topical pages that are cross-linked.
- If your content is likely to be printed from the Web, creating one long page separated by subtopics may be more effective.
In order to deliver a best-in-class experience, IEEE Web sites must be user centric.
- Determine your potential audiences and what they may want to achieve on your page; then create a page that helps facilitate these tasks.
- As the most widely used language in the world, English is the recommended language for IEEE Web sites. However, sites that are targeted toward user segments that speak a different native language may need to evaluate whether English is appropriate for their site.
Most visitors don't follow a predictable path through Web sites. Web content must account for this.
- Ensure that the purpose of the content and its context within the larger section or site is clear to the user.
- Use clear and unique page headings to help orient visitors.
- Link to background information where necessary.
Use the following devices and guidelines to increase scannability:
- Use shorter (50-80 characters per line) rather than longer line lengths (100 characters per line).
- Use left alignment for headings, sub-headings, and text.
- Link to other content where appropriate.
- Use bulleted or numbered lists rather than paragraphs wherever possible.
- Include only one main idea in each paragraph.
- Put the most important information at the top. Start the page with the main point as well as a short summary of the remaining content.
- Use headings where applicable.
- Never use capitalization (CAPS) for emphasis.
- Use plain language and short, simple words wherever possible.
- Keep content concise and focused.
- For longer pages, use anchor links to bookmarks throughout the page with "back" links to return the user to "top."
- Use meaningful graphics or pull quotes to break up larger blocks of text.
- Provide end links allowing the user to access other relevant pages without having to scroll back to the top of the page.
Adhere to the following best practices for tone and voice:
- Maintain consistent voice: Do not use first-person language on IEEE Web sites unless it will consistently be used throughout the site to refer to the same speaker and that speaker will be apparent to users. Use the second person (refer to the user as “you”) for instructional material where information is directed at the user.
- Use plain language: Compared to print, the Web is a more informal and immediate medium. Be sure that all potential audiences understand the content.
- Focus on the user needs: Avoid presenting the organizational view of IEEE or describing organizational units (OUs) or boards unless doing so is integral to the user's understanding of the surrounding content or is needed to solicit user involvement in the organization.
- Avoid exaggerated claims or strong promotional language: Use factual, objective information in place of “marketese” to present information more objectively.
- Avoid IEEE jargon: Terms or explanations that may not be understood by non-members or a more general audience should generally be avoided. Spell out acronyms on first usage or avoid entirely if not essential.
- Write in the active voice: Active voice emphasizes the “doer” of the action, not the “receiver.”
Yes: “IEEE members hold more patents than any other professional society members.”
No: “More patents have been awarded to IEEE members than to members of any other professional society.”
(The first sentence is shorter, yet it conveys the same message as the other; it also more accurately describes what IEEE does.)
- Avoid self-referential terms: “Click here” and “follow this link” provide little information for the user, sound unprofessional, and pose accessibility concerns.
- Use IEEE properly
- Avoid adding an apostrophe to the name IEEE, such as "IEEE's publication…" Instead use “... publication of IEEE.”
- Use “IEEE,” not the “Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers” or “the Institute.”
- Only use IEEE when referring to an activity or policy of the overall organization. If the statement refers to a specific area of IEEE only, be sure to clearly state this.
- When “IEEE” is part of the name of a product, publication, service, Society or other title, it should never be dropped. This applies to first and subsequent references. (Examples: IEEE Xplore®, IEEE Spectrum, IEEE Computer Society).
A style guide should be established and followed to ensure consistent practices throughout your site. Generally, anything other than sentence case should be used sparingly, as capitalization is an important attribute in helping readers distinguish the names and titles of products, services, and events from other content, particularly when scanning content.
Punctuation of the following commonly used IEEE terms is as follows:
|Uppercase ||Lowercase |
- Student Branch
- Student (or Life, Senior, etc.)
- organizational unit
- geographic unit
Use the following formats:
|Dates || |
- Formal correspondence: DD MONTH YYYY (ex. 17 September 1999)
- Computer applications: YYYY-MM-DD (1999-09-17) or YY-MM-DD (ex. 99-09-17)
|Phone numbers || |
- US: Plus sign/one/area code/number (Example: +1 732 555 1212).
- Non-US: Use appropriate country code.
- Note: Be sure that forms address the phone number formats of all international audience members, not just the US format.
|Seasons || |
- Use the month or quarter of the year to refer to dates, not the season.
|Time zone || |
- Use local, military, and UTC (example: 2:00 p.m. ET/14:00/1800 UTC-05).
|Currency || |
- When referencing US currency, include “US” in front of the dollar sign (example: US$25).
|Humor and colloquialism || |
- Avoid using puns, clichés, popular expressions, and jargon in your writing.