ACCORDING TO USABILITY GURU Jakob Nielsen (Alertbox June 9, 2008), the differences between print/TV and Web can be summarized as lean-back vs lean-forward:
- Print/TV is a passive medium. While reading publications or watching TV, readers/viewers want to be entertained. They are in relaxation mode and vegging out; they don’t want to make choices. People expect you to construct their experience for them. Readers/viewers are willing to follow the author’s lead.
- The Web is an active medium. On the Web, users are engaged and want to go places and get things done. Users want to construct their own experience by piecing together content from multiple sources, emphasizing their desires in the current moment.
Therefore, the writing style for Print/TV vs Web is:
- Linear vs. non-linear.
- Author-driven vs. reader-driven.
- Storytelling vs. ruthless pursuit of actionable content.
- Anecdotal examples vs. comprehensive data.
- Sentences vs. fragments.
- Big-picture learning vs just-in-time learning.
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