As we noted in the section on working in the digital environment, writing for the web relies on a logical structure. A well-designed research question can help you obtain this structure, but you also need to think about how you get that structure across to your readers.
A logical structure is vital to all forms of writing, but writing online has its own challenges. When you present a research essay on paper or as a Word document, for example, the reader is encouraged to begin with the first page and read straight through to the last page: both writer and reader agree that this is how a research essay works.
An online exhibition doesn't have to be linear in the same fashion as a research essay. But the agreement you make with your reader remains the same: you need to offer them a logical structure that they can easily follow.
For example, imagine that your topic was the history of Penguin Books. What is a meaningful structure for that topic? You could organise it chronologically, from 1935 to the present day. You could organise it in terms of book format, from paperbacks to hardbacks to glossy coffee table books. You could organise it by continent: Penguin in Europe, in the US, in Australia.
Any and all of these structures can be logical–by themselves. But a structure that begins with the 1930s history of Penguin, then flips to Penguin in Australia, and then to paperbacks? The logic breaks down, and the reader begins to lose focus.
The following questions are a good starting place:
- Do you follow the same structure throughout the exhibition?
- Do your paragraphs follow on from one another?
- Do your headings make logical sense?
- Is your exhibition easy to follow?