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Structure Tips Theory WebPoems Workshops Books Articles Lisa Jonathan


Create a title that means something.
On Brevity

Scan On!

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The title is crucial, because the page title is often the first thing visible to users using slow Internet connections, and because the title becomes the text for any bookmarks the reader makes to your pages. The page title should:

  • Incorporate the name of your company, organization, or Web site.
  • Form a concise, plainly worded reminder of the page contents.

—Lynch and Horton (1997)

Make titles unique and understandable out of context as most search engines list them in their search results page.

—Ameritech (1997)

The title should ideally be less than 64 characters in length. That is, many applications will display document titles in window titles, menus, etc. where there is only limited room.

—Berners-Lee (1995)

Thematic titles help users notice key points.

—Waite (1982)

Original Titles from Tim Berners-Lee:


Remarks on the Quantum-Gravity effects of "Bean Pole" diversification in Mononucleosis Patients in Developing Countries under Economic Conditions Prevalent During the Second Half of the Twentieth Century, and Related Papers: A Summary

Revised Titles:

LugeNet: An Overview of the Luge

TimBL: Quantum-Gravity Effects in Mononucleosis



Mr. Swinburne is famed or infamed for having used a great many words which express nothing but "color" or "splendor." It has been said that he used the same adjectives to describe a woman and a sunset.—Ezra Pound

That must be wonderful! I have no idea what it means. —Moliére


Challenge: Improve these Titles...

An Idea about the Olympics

User Information for the Camera

Overview of the Software

Making Sure That Your Important Documents Will Be Rendered Successfully on Multiple Platforms, Including a Plain Text Terminal

See: Ameritech (1997), Berners-Lee (1995), Dumas (1988), Frisse (1987), Levine (1997), Lynch & Horton (1997), Nielsen (1996), Waite (1982), Wallace (1985)

Other tips on making your Web prose easy to scan:
Bibliography List of web sites, research articles, and textbooks used to develop the tips.


Copyright 1998 Jonathan and Lisa Price, The Communication Circle
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