Jakob Nielsen: Precise communication in a handful of words? The editors at BBC News achieve it every day, offering remarkable headline usability.
It’s hard enough to write for the Web and meet the guidelines for concise, scannable, and objective content. It’s even harder to write Web headlines, which must be:
- short (because people don’t read much online);
- rich in information scent, clearly summarizing the target article;
- front-loaded with the most important keywords (because users often scan only the beginning of list items);
- understandable out of context (because headlines often appear without articles, as in search engine results); and
- predictable, so users know whether they’ll like the full article before they click (because people don’t return to sites that promise more than they deliver). […]
Read the whole article: http://www.useit.com/alertbox/headlines-bbc.html