Structuring content pages

Goal: Make it as easy as possible for your readers to scan, read and understand your text.

However long the text of your content page, you should strive to convey visually that it's an "easy read." If a page looks like hard work — filled with dense blocks of text with no apparent organization — most visitors won't even read the first paragraph.

Tip #1: Be as concise as possible.

Web users have very short attention spans. The briefer your text, the more likely people will read it. 

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Tip #2: Use headings to convey page structure.

Subheadings within page text are useful for visitors who want to scan a page before committing to reading it. Subheads give them an outline of your content.

Additionally, the use of headings makes your content more accessible to people with disabilities. People who use screen-reading software often navigate by hitting a keystroke combination to bring up all headings on the page.

Cascade has three heading styles you can use to structure text. Here's what they look like:

Heading 3

Heading 4


Heading 5

Do not use Heading 1 or Heading 2 within a content page. These styles are the same as other title elements on the page, and will cause visual confusion.

To apply heading styling within a WYSIWYG, simply select your text and then choose the proper heading format from the Format drop-down in the toolbar.

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Tip #3: Use bulleted/numbered lists and text formatting.

Research shows that using lists and formatting (such as bold and italics) improves reader comprehension.

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Tip #4: Employ graphic elements, sparingly.

Well-selected photos, charts and other visuals can greatly improve visitor engagement and understanding. Make sure the graphics you select directly support the textual content of your page.

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Tip #5: Use anchor links to help navigate very long pages.

Anchor links are links within a page that allow users to quickly move to different parts of the page. You'll see these used on the UCOP site most often on FAQ pages (see an FAQ example from the Business Resource Center site).

The page you're looking at right now employs anchor links.

Clemson provides useful instructions for adding anchor links in Cascade. When using anchors, you should always provide ways for users to get back to the top of the page.

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