Help users prepare for change – Content design: planning, writing and management of content – Support


Do a basic review of the content of existing boards as soon as you know roughly what’s changing. Don’t wait until you have all the details.

This will help you avoid duplicating content when you need to notify users of the change.

Duplication (or multiple pages with similar content) can give users the impression that there is no single version of the truth. This can mean that they lose confidence in what they read on GOV.UK, so that they miss out on critical information. It can also be difficult for users to know where to look to find the content they need.

Steps to review guidelines

In addition to your organization’s content, you will need to include consumer content and content from other organizations in your review. This is because users are looking for information related to what they need, not the organization that posted it.

You don’t need to include all types of content, but you should identify related guidance content, services, policy documents, and collection pages.

Don’t tie urgent content, like news reports and speeches, to tips, as this can give the false impression of being up to date.

To find related content:

  • search GOV.UK and Google using related keywords (for example, try “travel abroad”, “go on vacation” and “get a passport” to find passport-related content)
  • search in Whitehall Publisher and export the results to a CSV file

You can also use the Topic Taxonomy List in Whitehall Publisher to find related topics and search for related content within them.

Step 2. Review the tips

Select advice content from your list, including consumer pages and content owned by other organizations.

Review the content of the tips to identify:

  • existing policy or program guidelines (which you can update to include changes)
  • duplication (especially several orientation elements with similar titles and content)
  • missing information that users will need to perform a task resulting from the change

You will generally need to include basic Google Analytics metrics and qualitative data in your review.

Step 3. Make improvements to existing guidelines

Improve existing advice before adding information about the change, if you can. Doing this work beforehand will facilitate:

  • to incorporate updates when you get details from your political colleagues
  • so users find the content and know what they need to do to prepare

Focus on removing any duplicate content first. If you identify any duplicates in directions belonging to other departments as well as your own, you will need to work with them to consolidate them.

If you have time, make general improvements as well.

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Jenny T. Curlee

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