Website editing and proofreading
Copy-editing and proofreading a website require all the basic skills of the copy-editor or proofreader. In addition there are various tasks specifically linked to working with electronic texts.
The copy-editor of a website will:
- Create a style guide for the website, if one is not already available;
- Be aware that web-page readers generally skim-read text, and therefore keep paragraphs and sentences short;
- Write concise but descriptive headings, and summaries of web pages for use at higher levels in the site;
- Ensure that the target of a linked word or phrase is clear, avoiding the use of 'click here';
- Check whether to include a disclaimer for the content of external sites;
- Advise on whether to split content across linked pages to reduce scrolling;
- Check functionality of multimedia files;
- Provide alternative descriptions for graphics and other multimedia elements and links, so that the website is fully functional when graphics are turned off or a screen reader is in use;
- Create a site map if required;
- Liaise with the author or designer about problems in the design of the site.
The proofreader of a website will:
- Agree a method for marking up web pages with the client, for instance annotating PDF copies of a page, correcting html files or marking up hard copy;
- Agree a method of communicating corrections or amendments, for instance e-mailing marked-up files or using FTP to transfer files to a location made available for the purpose;
- Download and proofread multimedia files, for example, animation, audio, and video material;
- Ensure that alternative descriptions for page title and multimedia elements are correct;
- Check internal and external links;
- Check text-only versions of the website.