14 August 2020
  |     Blog

GDS Content Design course...

Last month members of the Blue Level team took part in the Government Digital Service (GDS) ‘Introduction to Content Design’ course via FutureLearn

Writing for the web is very different to writing for print, mainly because people read a website differently!

The ‘Introduction to Content Design’ course is aimed at content designers or those working in roles that involve content design to understand this in greater detail.

Within many organisations it isn’t always the case that there is a defined content designer role where it’s someone's sole focus to design/create the content for their website. It’s often the case that content design becomes part of another job role or is split across multiple roles within an organisation.

So what did we take away from the course?

How to write good content

Content is only good if it’s easy to read. The best web content is created when using the following guidelines;

  • Be specific
  • Be informative
  • Be clear and to the point
  • Use short sentences
  • Use sub-headed sections where necessary

By following these guidelines it means that users will be able to easily absorb the content.

The difference when writing copy for a website is that it's important to only write what someone needs in order to complete their task and nothing more. Users often won’t read the copy within a website unless they want specific information about something.

Why is user data so important?

Whenever content is being created it’s always best to ask the same question. What’s the user need?

This is often a question that doesn’t get asked and assumptions then get made about what content the users would like to see.

It’s important to get to know your audience types so that you can make sure that you are writing content using vocabulary that they will understand. This includes using certain terms or phrases that they may use to search for the content within your website.

Keeping it simple and using common words that anyone can understand is the best way to ensure that your content is accessible for everyone.

Accessibility isn’t just about screen readers

One of the most common misconceptions with accessibility is that it only applies to users with severe physical disabilities.

This course allows you to understand that issues with accessibility can range from someone who has a permanent disability such as blindness, to someone who has a temporary disability such as a broken arm. Accessibility also needs to be considered for people who suffer from neurological disorders such as ADHD or Autism.

Whenever you search for website accessibility on the internet you will often find the following 4 principles when attempting to define what accessible is.

  • Perceivable

  • Operable

  • Understandable

  • Robust

What this course does is allow you to understand these principles in everyday context rather than technical jargon.

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