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Libguides Editing Guidelines

Writing style

Best Practices

  • Write clearly and simply. Use active voice and conversational tone.
  • Less is better than more – include key information only to avoid information overload
  • Front-load the important information. Use the journalism model of the “inverted pyramid.” Start with the content that is most important to your audience, and then provide additional details.
  • Use bullets and numbered lists.
  • Avoid long paragraphs of content. List are easier to scan.
  • Use clear headlines and subheads. Questions, especially those with pronouns, are effective.
  • Use images, diagrams, or multimedia to visually represent ideas in the content. Use only images that are free to use, such as those from Unsplash, Pexels, Pixabay, and similar sites.
  • Use white space. Using white space allows you to reduce noise by visually separate information.
  • Never use ALL CAPS. If you need emphasis, use bold. Even then, use sparingly.
  • Use italics only when they serve a purpose (e.g. setting aside a quote, citation formatting.)
  • Never underline text since this is the convention for indicating a link.
  • Text should always be aligned left (never centered or right justified).
  • Use just one space after a period and to start a new sentence, not two.

See Content Principles and Guidelines for our entire website for more tips.

Language is very powerful. Language does not describe reality. Language creates the reality that it describes. - Desmond Tutu

See our UA Libraries anti-racist language guide for good advice on communicating in a way that validates our audience, is respectful, and avoids provoking past negative experiences.

How to write effective content for email & websites: Nicole Hennig & Rebecca Blackiston

Watch the recording of our Oct. 27 workshop:
How to Write More Effective Email and Web Content - Nicole Hennig & Rebecca Blackston
And download the handout.