5: Omit Needless Words

Good writing is concise, and many Web pages are filled with poorly written text, bloated with unnecessary words. He suggests that you can usually remove about half of the words on the page without losing anything of value - and "half" is in his experience entirely reasonable.

Aside of the time it takes to read unnecessary content, the sheer volume of words is so intimidating that people may not bother to try. Moreover, the long passages of text on most pages are often the least important parts of the page when considering what the user is attempting to do.

Avoid Self-Promotion

Particularly on home pages and information "about this site" there is a lot of what the author calls "happy talk" - promotional writing that attempts to use adjectives to convince people that the site, company, and products are good.

A company will describe its "wonderful" products and "exciting" opportunities for a "fulfilling" career. It's not unique to the web, as the practice started in print advertising long ago. It's often just fluff, as most people recognize marketing language when they see it and will not take your word that your products are "amazing" - they will be amazed or they will not, and the suggestion will not influence their opinion.

Moreover, happy talk is mostly content-free. When you cut out all the self-congratulatory adjectives, the text often says nothing worthwhile.

(EN: Krug takes the extreme that this should be avoided altogether for usability purposes - which is likely true, but it is in fact good for marketing.

Advertising audiences are "primed" by these adjectives to hold a certain opinion - so if you describe your product as being "useful" they will often repeat that very word back when asked to describe the product, and the term will show up in their word-of-mouth references more often. Perhaps a good compromise would be to define three adjectives you want to associate to your brand and use only those. Too many different adjectives is bad for both usability and marketing purposes, and too much repetition of the same ones becomes hammy.)

Reduce Instructions

Explaining things that are self-evident is a particularly bad practice. The dreaded "click here to" when the text is obviously a link (color and underline) is entirely useless. Telling the user to "click the submit button below" is entirely pointless because they know how to submit a form online.

(EN: After this, he provides a straw-man example of some truly awful text, which he trims from 103 to 34 words without losing any useful information.)

(EN: In the end, I don't have the sense that Krug has done quite enough to enable to reader to identify which words really are "needless." Likely the better advice is to hire an editor, who can pare it down.)