Developing content standards for better public services

August 16, 2018 by 1 Comment | Category Content Design

We’ve produced a set of content standards to help colleagues in the Scottish Government, and our public sector partners, deliver effective content. Our ultimate aim is to help improve public services.

Why content standards are helpful

Everything that public sector organisations publish should meet their users’ needs. Our standards will:

  • provide tools, techniques and processes you can use to make sure you’ve taken your users into account when you’re developing your content
  • promote consistency in content strategy, delivery and maintenance
  • give an overview of what content designers do, and the role they play in service teams
  • let you know what to expect if you’re going through Digital First Service Standard Assessment

Ultimately content is an important interaction between citizens and government. For example it could make the difference between someone getting access to the money or help they need, through clear and accessible guidance or understanding how to complete an application form.

At the moment these interactions can be too complicated for users. We want to make sure there’s a consistently good experience across all services.

Who they’re for

Users need information from a range of organisations to find out, and do, what they need to.

So our standards are for anyone who’s responsible for delivering public services – people who work in central government, local government, the wider public sector and any other organisations that want to produce user-centred content.

And they’re not just for people designing services from scratch. They’re also for organisations who want to improve their existing content, and manage it more effectively.

How we developed them

These standards are the result of consultation with content designers across the public sector.

They’re based on:

  • best practice
  • the content requirements for the Digital First Service Standard
  • what we’ve learnt during the projects we’ve worked on
  • the kinds of questions we’re often asked by partner organisations

How we’ll make sure they’re up to date and relevant

We’ll make sure the standards continue to describe and reflect best practice by acting on feedback from people who are using them. We’ll also draw on what we learn from the projects we work on and good examples across the public sector.

Want to get involved?

If you’re a content designer working on a digital product or service we’d love your input.

Contact for more information.

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  • Ruud Ravenhorst says:

    Is there an option to get your standards as a complete set for a Dutch public servant working in the same field? Would make me very happy!

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