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Content principles

Guiding principles for content design on nsw.gov.au.

We created content principles for nsw.gov.au to help content authors to build consistent, user-friendly content. 

Use these principles across all content types when you are: 

  • creating new content 
  • revising older content. 

While these principles should help you to align with government design standards and policies, it doesn’t replace them.

Find existing policies on the Digital NSW website.

Purposeful

  • Content isn't there to look pretty.
  • Content serves a purpose to inform, educate, inspire, or entertain.
  • Define the purpose of the content and meet it.
  • Use evidence to support the purpose of each piece of content.

Accessible

  • Create content that is easy to access, understand and act upon.
  • Use audience-appropriate language.
  • Use plain English that is inclusive to native and non-native English speakers.
  • Do not rely on imagery or video to convey a message.
  • Ensure content is accessible on multiple devices.

Inclusive

  • Content should be respectful and considerate of all kinds of users, their backgrounds, abilities, and needs.
  • Content should not exclude any user or user group in terms of:
    • subject matter
    • complexity
    • concept
    • language
    • intended tasks.

Focused

  • Content should be on topic, direct and concise.
  • The most important information should be up front.
  • Consider the audience and their specific needs when creating content.
  • Content should be self-contained and make sense if read out of sequence.

Distinctive

  • Content should provide information that is new or more valuable than what is already published.
  • Create content that is relevant to the intended audience and is written with authority on the given topic.

Consistent

  • Ensure that the user experience is matched across content types.
  • Ensure there is consistent formatting in style, language and design.
  • Users should be able to easily identify their place within the content.

Connected

Good content should:

  • exist within context
  • link to other related content
  • have sources referenced where relevant
  • be housed within a well-designed information architecture
  • be mapped logically within the website.

Trustworthy

Good content should:

  • be truthful and transparent
  • protect privacy and ensure security
  • foster an open relationship between citizens and government.
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