Archive for December, 2013


How to spell check web pages effectively

Making sure to spell check web pages is really important. This isn’t a new issue. The problem of spelling errors is as old as the written word, but the modern web does present some unique challenges. When you review a page on the screen, you need to make sure you’re checking all the text. This is sometimes tricky. Take a look at this example:

spelling

Can you see the spelling error? Try looking again. Still no? Here it is…

spellMenu

The reason you couldn’t see the spelling error in the (made up) example is that it was hidden until the mouse roles over the menu, and this is a common issue when spell checking sites.

If you spell check web pages manually in your browser you need to be extremely careful to check the “hidden” areas of the page. Often these are simply menus, where there isn’t too much text to get wrong, but in some sites these hidden areas can be a lot bigger….

When you spell check web pages, do you check the tabs too?

In the above example there’s a large amount of text hidden behind those tabs. In fact, taken together they contain more text than the rest of the page. So the first lesson is: beware of tabs, menus and other hidden areas, they often contain text that needs to be spell checked.

The following sections contain hints on checking other parts of pages, which in some case are completely hidden when you view them in the browser, but they’re some of the most important parts of the content.

The title

The <title> tags in the <head> section of a web page contain the text that will appear in a couple of places:

1) The browser tab used to open the page:

title

2) Search engine results. Search engines use the title tag in their listings. This makes the title an incredibly important page element to check!

search

The description

This is a slightly more obscure part of a page. It never appears in the browser when the page is viewed. The description is found in the top of your html, like this:

<html>

<head>

<title>Your title</title>

<meta name=”description” content=”Text describing the content of the page”>

</head>

The description is often used by the search engines to describe the page, enticing the viewer to click on it. Here’s an example of how it appears:


description
Since the title and description may make someone decide whether or not to view your page, getting the spelling right here is very important.

Image alt’s

Image alts are put into the html of your page with images. They provide a description of what’s in the image. They look something like this:
<img src=”imageFile.png” alt=”A description of what’s in the image” />
These are fairly important because image alt’s are shown by some web browsers when a visitors mouse is positioned over the image. They’re also used in indexing images to be shown in systems like Google’s image search. Finally image alts can sometimes be read out as an alternative to the image by screen reader software.

How to handle these

If you’re spell checking manually by opening pages in your browser it’s important to check tabs and menus etc. to find hidden content. It’s also important to do right click > View page source and make sure all the hidden areas (title, description, image alt’s) are spelled correctly.

There is also a better way. Our tool, DeepTrawl, will automatically check all the content of every page and all of the above. With a single click you can find the spelling errors in an entire site.

spell check web pages