Online content development – innovation

The brief

  • make it easier for teachers and school leaders to find advice and guidance on the Department for Education’s website
  • make sure guidance and advisory content is succinct, clearly labelled and expressed simply

The background

Research suggested that the schools workforce was overwhelmed by the volume of guidance issued by the department. Teachers and heads couldn’t easily establish what they needed to know, nor could they differentiate what they had to do (statutory requirements) from what the department wanted them to do (departmental advice).

What we did

We developed two new bespoke content templates for the department’s website. The statutory guidance and departmental advice templates clearly set out:

  • who the guidance/advice is aimed at
  • what it is updating or replacing
  • when the advice will next be reviewed or will expire
  • key points – such as what is new or has changed

How our approach was innovative

Before the introduction of the templates, most advice and guidance had only been available in print or in a downloadable format, and was written in a range of styles and formats. Moving to HTML web pages and standardising the presentation of advice and guidance was a significant break from tradition.

The templates have several innovative features, including:

  • the ability to group all advice and guidance into single areas – a key requirement from the original commission
  • faceted search facilities (which allow users to search by content type or audience)
  • multi-surfacing capabilities (which mean pages can appear in several areas of the website)
  • tagging features (which enable you to recommend related web content to users)

How this benefited the client

The department’s White Paper, ‘The Importance of Teaching’, contains a commitment to cutting unnecessary bureaucracy and simplifying advice and guidance for schools professionals. The bespoke content templates we developed have helped the client to meet this aim. Online advice and guidance is now:

  • more user-friendly
  • more consistent
  • easier to find
  • easier to understand

Referee details are available on request.

Got a question?

Call Nick Spence on 01486 608224