- Titles: Use initial capitalization. For instance: “How to Design for the User.” Note that “to,” “for,” and “the” are lowercase.
- Subtitles/Section Headers: Style subtitles and headers as if they were normal sentences (sentence case). For instance: “Considering your audience.”
- Images: See posting template for image sizes.
- Author bio: Include a 2-3-sentence bio with a link or two (your website or Twitter, for instance). Photo size requirements can be found in the posting template.
- Dashes: Em-dashes (denoted in your markup as
—) place a pregnant emphasis on whatever follows them. Use them sparingly. En-dashes should primarily be used within a date-range.
- Hyphens: They should not be used after an –ly word. For instance, while “high-class” SHOULD be hyphenated, “highly regarded” should NOT be.
- Semi-colons: These are used to connect two closely related independent clauses. In other words, semi-colons join complete sentences together. Semi-colons can also be used to separate complex items in a list.
- List punctuation: If a list has complete sentences, make sure to use sentence case and proper punctuation. If the list contains fragments (or single words), don’t worry about punctuation or capitalization. Just stay consistent.
- Quotation marks: All punctuation goes INSIDE the quotation mark, whether the marks are being used to quote or to emphasize. Remember: period in the quotes.
- Exclamation points: Avoid these for the most part. Exclamation points can be invasive and distracting when overused in articles. Sentences can pop without an exclamation point.
- Their, there, and they’re: Their = denoting possession (their car); there = denoting a place or existence (there is another way); and they’re = they + are (they’re not here).
- To, too, and two: To = in a direction (going to bed); too = also (I’m tired too); and two = 2 (It’s two in the morning).
Tips for better articles
- Point-of-view: Write in either the first-person or the third-person. Also – Unless they’re well substantiated – please make sure your post isn’t overly opinionated. We would rather not be your soapbox.
- Conviction: Have a clear thesis as well as a strong understanding of why what you have to say is valuable.
- Authority: Avoid using phrases like “I think,” and “In my opinion.” They suggest a weak stance in the argument.
- Cliches suck: Some cliches are inevitable and unavoidable. Be aware of cliches in your writing, and edit them down as much as possible. Obnoxious cliches include: anything “101,” “outside the box” statements, calling anything a “labor of love,” “calm before the storm,” “this day and age,” etc. Don’t overuse any of these.
- How to get started:If possible, enumerate the ways readers can incorporate your advice into their practice.
- Keep it simple: Don’t go thesaurus-crazy. Using unnecessary, big words not only alienates a lot of readers, but also puts you at risk for using them incorrectly. Write simply and write effectively.
- Avoid heavy jargon: Articles at UX Booth are rated G—intended for a general audience, that is. If you need to use an obscure jargon term, define it for the readers.
- Flow: This elusive idea can be explained rather simply: vary your sentence structure and keep readers interested through cadence. In other words, avoid writing subject-verb, subject-verb, subject-verb articles: My cat ate my radio. It now plays classical music after 11. I can’t sleep anymore. See? That’s boring to read (even though the cat is cool).
- Audience: As a contributor to UX Booth, you are writing for a community of beginning-to-intermediate interaction designers, information architects, content strategists, and user researchers.
- Active voice: Avoid passive voice. For example, instead of saying: “The couch was being torn apart by an overactive mastiff,” say: “The overactive mastiff tore the coach apart” (poor thing).
- Metaphors, similes, and imagery: These literary devices can add a wonderful dimension to any article…as long as they’re used appropriately and sparingly. We encourage creatively written articles, but don’t go too crazy. Meaning should be magnified—not obscured—by these devices.