Understand your audience to develop useful, relevant content.
For all British Columbians
Gov.bc.ca is the main government website of the province of British Columbia. Its audience is all British Columbians.
Content on gov.bc.ca must be accurate, accessible, easy to understand and relevant, and never promotional, persuasive or politicized.
Know your audience
While gov.bc.ca is for all British Columbians, your content may only appeal to a certain segment of that audience, such as child care providers, single parents, nurses or educators.
Research the audience for your content to find out who they are, what they need to do, and how your content can help them do it.
Use plain language
Use language your audience is comfortable with.
For some people English is a second or third language. Others may hold advanced degrees in linguistics or literature.
Whatever their English level, all audiences deserve clarity, accuracy and simplicity of language.
Write plain language content to achieve this.
Reading grade level helps ensure content isn't overly wordy or technical.
It can be measured using content metrics tools.
For gov.bc.ca content aim for a grade 6-8 reading level.
Use technical or specialized language only when your audience needs or expects it.
Organize for clarity
Mixing materials for different audiences is confusing.
Design content to address individual audiences separately, in separate sections, paragraphs or pages.
If your content has more than one audience you may need more than one web page.
Understand content purpose
If you don't know the purpose of your content your audience won't either.
When creating, managing, reviewing or approving content, ask
- Why does this content need to exist?
- Who is the audience, and is there more than one?
- What does the audience need to know?
- What questions will the audience have?
- What problem is the audience trying to solve?
- Does the content provide a solution, and how?
Design for scanning
People scan web pages to find relevant information quickly.
Use headings, lists, short sentences and paragraphs to help them find what they're looking for.
Write for mobile
Mobile devices such as cell phones and tablets account for over 80% of all web traffic.
Writing for the Web
Writing for the Web is the strategy for gov.bc.ca content.