Writing engaging content: clear, user-focussed writing for digital

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    11-Apr-2017

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  • Writing engaging content:clear, user-focussed writing for digital

    Sue Davis

    GDS

  • GDS

    Who said this? And when?

    I would wish that the superfluous and tedious statutes were made more plain and short, to the intent that men might better understand them.

    Sue

  • GDSSue

    Edward VI(1550)

  • 1.You your users

  • GDSSue

  • GDS

    Writing for your users

    Who are they?

    Sue

  • GDS

    What types of content do you need to produce for them?

    Sue

  • GDS

    What will they do with this information?

    Sue

  • GDS

    User stories state the users problem clearly to come up with solutions

    Sue

  • GDS

    User story

    As an IT managerI need to understand whats involved in setting up secure wifiSo that I can get my team to do it

    Sue

  • GDS

    User story

    As a supplierI need to know how I can supply to the public sectorSo that I can grow my business

    Sue

  • GDS

    Most people will be reading your content on a screen.

    What does this mean?

    Sue

  • search

    bright background low resolution

    scrolling

    differentsize

    screen ping!

    GDS

    When you read from a screen

    GDSSue

  • When you read from a screen

    GDSSue

  • 2. Break it up

  • GDSSue

    Which is more appealing?

  • GDSSue

    It works

    Image credit: NN Group

  • 3. Structure

  • GDS

    The inverted pyramid

    background

    must have

    nice to have

    they could stop reading at any time

    Sue

  • GDS

    Last year 17% of EU staff who came to work over the Christmas holidays complained that their office was freezing!

    Sue

  • GDSSue

    This content was:- emailed to all staff- on their intranet

    What does the user need to do?

  • GDS

    Christmas heatingTo save energy, office heating in Brussels will be switched off during the Christmas break except in premises listed in the attachment, where we know staff will be working.

    If you need heating in premises not listed in the attachment, ask your Resources Directorate to send a request to resources@ec.europa.eu.

    In heated premises, heating will be switched off at 5pm (3 hours earlier than usual). But offices are well insulated and should stay warm for several hours. If you have any problems, please contact the technical section on 123 456.

    Sue

  • GDS

    Planning to work over the Christmas break?

    Check your office is on the list of heated premises.

    If it isnt, ask your Resources Directorate to send a heating request to resources@ec.europa.eu.

    In heated premises, heating will be switched off early at 5pm over the holidays. If your office is too cold, you can call the technical service on 123 456.

    Sue

  • 4. You can write clearly

  • GDS

    As civil servants, we have a reputation for incomprehensible writing... Ive found that fault lies less with peoples ability, more with the pressure perceived or real to conform to a supposed civil service style. We become institutionalised.

    Yet when given the right support, the permission and the clear expectation that they should write clearly, they do.

    - Mark Morris, ex Head of Clear Writing, DHSue

  • GDS

    US research: Preference for clear English increasesthe more complex the ideathe higher the level of educationthe greater the expertise

    Sue

  • GDS

    US research: Preference for clear English increasesthe more complex the ideathe higher the level of educationthe greater the expertise

    (everyone likes clear language)

    Sue

  • Clear English

    Write what users can most easily understand, with:- shorter words - shorter sentences: fewer than 25

    words- subject, verb, object- one idea per sentence

    GDSSue GDSSue

  • GDSSue

    https://gds.blog.gov.uk/2014/02/25/gds-this-week-its-not-dumbing-down-its-opening-up

  • GDS

    on an equitable basison a daily basisdue to the fact thatin order toin excess ofcommenceutilise

    Sue

  • GDS

    Plain English CampaignA to Z of alternative words

    Sue

  • GDSSue

    Keep your sentences simple.

  • GDSSue

  • GDSSue

  • Rewrite these sentences

    GDSSue

  • The project, a co-operation between Common Technology Services (CTS), CESG, The Digital Marketplace and The Institute for Cyber Security at Cambridge University, explores ways of configuring cloud-based email services so that they are secure and reliable.

    GDSSue

    https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/common-technology-services-cts

  • The project explores ways of configuring secure, reliable cloud-based email services.

    Project partners are: Common Technology Services (CTS), Communications-Electronics Security

    Group (CESG) The Digital Marketplace The Institute for Cyber Security at

    Cambridge UniversityGDSSue

    https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/common-technology-services-ctshttps://www.gov.uk/government/groups/common-technology-services-cts

  • We have decided that we shall commence the implementation of our consultations process improvement programme.

    GDSSue

  • Well improve our consultations process.

    GDSSue

  • Thank you.

    Please leave your quick feedback.

    GDSSue Davis