This page is aimed at content designers writing content for a charity website.
From Gov.uk's series on writing web content: People read differently on the web than they do on paper. This means that the best approach when writing for the web is different from writing for print.
People read differently on the web than they do on paper. This means that the best approach when writing for the web is different from writing for print.
Our guidance on writing for GOV.UK is based on research into how people read online and how people use GOV.UK. It explains what each rule is based on.
When you write for GOV.UK you should:
- use writing for the web best practice
- follow the Government Digital Service (GDS) style guide and writing guidance
Meet the user need
Do not publish everything you can online. Publish only what someone needs to know so they can complete their task. Nothing more.
People do not usually read text unless they want information. When you write for the web, start with the same question every time: what does the user want to know?
Meeting that need means being:
- clear and to the point
Finding information on the web
An individual’s process of finding and absorbing information on the web should follow these steps.
- I have a question
- I can find the page with the answer easily – I can see it’s the right page from the search results listing
- I have understood the information
- I have my answer
- I trust the information
- I know what to do next/my fears are allayed/I do not need anything else
A website only works if people can find what they need quickly, complete their task and leave without having to think about it too much.
Good content is easy to read
Good online content is easy to read and understand.
- short sentences
- sub-headed sections
- simple vocabulary
This helps people find what they need quickly and absorb it effortlessly.
The main purpose of GOV.UK is to provide information - there’s no excuse for putting unnecessarily complicated writing in the way of people’s understanding.