Skip to Main Content

Develop & Publish Content: Develop Content

Planning questions

Questions to ask yourself before creating content:

  • Does your department own this content? If not, who does own it?

  • Does the content overlap with another department?  Do you need to collaborate with another department?

  • Does the content already exist on a website or other Springshare product? Can it be re-used? 

  • Are there any prerequisite skills or knowledge needed to understand the content?

  • What other resources would be helpful?

  • What other questions may arise or follow from this information?

Content development best practices

Stay focused

  • Keep the content focused on the topic at hand.  Don't expand into other areas unless necessary.

  • Chunk the information.  Don't write a wall of text; break up the content into smaller tidbits.  Try to keep paragraphs to three or four sentences.  Ask yourself, would I read all of that if I came across it on the internet?

  • Try to keep the content to two-page lengths (two-page scrolls) if possible.  Most people won't read something longer than that, especially if it is all text.

  • Don't include more than four concepts on one page.  Make it fewer, if possible.

  • Consider what technology skills or knowledge the student needs.  Don't assume the student knows there are multiple tabs in the portal or where something is in the classroom.


Engage the reader

  • Consider including screenshots and videos in your content to break up the text.  Visual interest goes a long way towards jazzing up dry text.  Videos are helpful for many students; consider them for any process with three or more steps.  They don't have to be long or complicated, but a video with an audio component is a great reinforcement for any process.

  • Use example scenarios when relevant.

  • Use active language to include the reader and keep it formal. Use "you" and "we" instead of "the student" or "the university".  Use active verbs in the present tense.