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Start with editorial guidance


As a government agency, your content is part of your service to the public. It needs to be user focused. When you champion a user approach you will also be able to focus on improving outcomes and measuring success.

Set expectations for quality content with your authors. Let them know that quality assurance checks and usability testing are part of the content creation process.

Promote the use of the Content Guide to learn how to structure content, write in plain English and create accessible content.

You will often need to convince subject matter experts of the value of user-centred content. Use your communications and engagement skills to influence and help authors understand how to do this.

Use your content planning session to help your broader team know what you expect to achieve for the business and the user.

Who to involve


Content leads

Set expectations for quality content with your authors. Let them know that quality assurance checks and usability testing are part of the content creation process.

Provide content writing guidance and advice on how to comply with standards. This will help with consistency across the many professions who have varying skills and ability in writing content.

Subject experts, legal, media advisors, policy authors

Provide subject expertise, write and advise on factual accuracy of information/or legal risks or considerations.

Communications/marketing writers, web writers/editors, information architects, content strategists

Consult with specialists to know your content strategy goals, your content model and range of content types.

Understand where the content needs to be located in the digital ecosystem and if related content already exists.

Understand who the user is, and how the information needs to be designed and accessed. Everyone should be able to find out what they need to know or do when interacting with government.

Content must always be optimised for the user in line with the goals of your content strategy. This will require negotiation with experts who are not experienced in web writing. It is also an opportunity for mentoring and building capability.

Web graphic designer

Ensure that artefacts are written in plain English, are made accessible and comply with WCAG 2.0 AA.

Tools and templates


Content production template

Use the content production template. The template gives context for authors and reviewers. It also guides those not experienced in web writing.

Content decision tree

Use the content decision tree as a guide to help content authors question and decide if content is right or ready to publish.

Readability check

Use tools to check the readability of your content. Aim to make content as readable as possible. This makes it more accessible for everyone, not just users with low literacy. Specialist and technical audiences benefit from plain English too.

It's good to aim for an age 9 reading level. WCAG criteria 3.1.5 (Level AAA) recommends you write to lower high school level (Australian Year 7 to 8). Even if you aren't able to achieve an age 9 reading level, the more readable you can make content the better it is for everyone.

Method