What are the unique components of online writing?

From LitWiki

Digital/Online writing is the use of written words and characters to form messages that are both 1) published in an electronic format (blog, e-mail, social media, wiki, etc.) and 2) transmitted for accessibility through the use of the internet. The manner by which society processes data is made almost instantaneous as writing has transcended into the digital age. Writing for online, as opposed to writing for print, makes for the use of five unique components: Hypertext, Scannability, Credibility, Usability, and Multimedia.


The use of hypertext allows for writers to link supplemental information from outside sources directly to the body of text meant for online publication. This text can be linked internally (through the same website) or externally (to a different website). [1]


As writing has digitally evolved, so has humanity's interpretation of the written word. Through the process of scanning, web users may diffuse unnecessary information to find the desired text quickly and efficiently. The idea is that the longer it takes a user to find what they want, the quicker the site loses its reputation as a dependable source. [2]


The credibility of any online literature or publication is based on the source of information being presented. Through the use of hyperlinks, writers can cite their research so that readers can access these sources at any time. [3]


Users seeking gratification prefer a website where information is efficiently delivered without error or delay. Overall user satisfaction directly affects a site's usability. [4]

Use of Multimedia

The digital environment in which online writing exists allows for incorporation of multimedia (image, video, audio, interactive content, etc.). This adds to the overall user experience by appealing to the the user's senses. [5]

Work Cited

Gloor, Peter. Elements of Hypermedia Design: Techniques for Navigation and Visualization in Cyberspace. Switzerland: Birkhauser Publishing Co., 1996. Print.

Redshaw, Kerry . "Scannability and Readability in Web Writing." Scannability and Readability in Web Writing. KerryR.net, n.d. Web. 8 Nov. 2013. <http://www.kerryr.net/webwriting/structure_scan-read.htm>.

Struthers, Kaaren . "LEO: Assessing the credibility of online sources." LEO: Assessing the credibility of online sources. The Write Place, 7 Jan. 2005. Web. 8 Nov. 2013. <http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/research/credibility1.html>.

"Writing for the Web." Home. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, n.d. Web. 8 Nov. 2013. <http://www.usability.gov/how-to-and-tools/methods/writing-for-the-web.html>.

Stevens, Jane. "multimedia storytelling." What is a multimedia story?. UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, 7 Nov. 2012. Web. 8 Nov. 2013. <http://multimedia.journalism.berkeley.edu/tutorials/starttofinish/multimedia/>.