Writing for the Web
In writting for the city of richmond website we are trying to accomplish 2 goals. the first goal is to the a reliable source of current information about the operations, interactions and demographic of the City of Richmond. The second goal is to push current projects and inspire citizen to participate in city activities.
This is a unique type of writing for the web which combines current marketing/branding techniques and technical writing technique. The reason that both of these methods are combined together is to present pages that have snappy scannable text that summarize what is on the page and then provides a second part that acts as the public record that provides full, complete and accurate information.
While most writing for the web guides will tell you and it is true that writing for the web is very different from writing for print in that 79% of users scan the page instead of reading word-for-word, Reading from computer screens is 25% slower than from paper, Web content should have 50% of the word count of its paper equivalent. The city needs to keep that in mind for the first part of the page but the city website BUT the city’s website is also an official resource for information and a complete, fully informed information should be available from our website.
An important thing to remember is that the City Of Richmond website is considered a trusted resource, unlike Wikipedia, it is assumed that everything on our website is absolutely complete and correct. That it is a source of information that be referenced, sited and reproduced in other mediums. That it is in short the public record for the City of Richmond.
Why the use of the term “public record” used. Public records refers to information that has been filed or recorded by local, state, federal or other government agencies, such as corporate and property records. Websites in the past have not been considered a “public records” but that is changing (this is the city’s lawyers speaking and not DIT opinion.) Access to public records in the US at the federal level is guided by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Each state has its own version of FOIA. With the advent of the Internet and the Information Age, access to public records in the U.S. to anyone who wishes to view them has dramatically increased. The website for the City of Richmond meaning how the website looked/read in the past is now becoming FOA-able information. The Virginia Library Law gives guidance that at least 3 years of record are required for public records. So the liability of the website to the city is increasing and information being not complete or not corrected will cause bigger and bigger legal problem as time goes by. Content is the most important thing. Well written and complete content is even more important.