As a Business Analyst, I get to work with Councils and stakeholders to support them in the development of great end-user focused content which is accessible to all. When it comes to writing or reviewing content, I always keep the following three things in mind:
The average UK reading age is 9 years old
With that in mind, I thought I would share 10 of the most common task wording changes I often recommend to the Councils we work and consult with.
“Refuse” can mean “an unwillingness to accept” and “Refuse” is “waste”, however the two can easily be confused. Avoid confusion and be straight-talking. “Bin” is much more user friendly.
In our experience (reinforced by user testing and analytics) a user would generally say they were going to the tip.
It’s a very old-fashioned term. Users would search ‘toilet’ over ‘conveniences’.
Unless you know about voting or elections, you may not have any idea what an Electoral Register is. Perhaps it’s your first time voting.
These days “careers” is not a widely used term. The spelling is also easily confused with carers.
Avoid acronyms! If you work in a role that regularly uses acronyms, it’s easy to forget that people outside of this might not know what you mean. It’s best practice to avoid or include a brief explanation in plain English if you need to use the acronym.
What would a user say here? You can also do some testing to find out.
Users tend to search ‘cleaning’ instead of ‘cleansing’. Again, user testing is always helpful.
“I’m just taking my child to the recreation ground” is not a phrase that is commonly used.
Same as with PCN. Avoid acronyms or list the full word and even a brief description in plain language if needed.
This can be an invaluable resource to helping you clarify what terms are being used and whether your content is being found.
Stakeholder research is a great way to understand the key priorities of your organisation and how to organise these into logical service zones.