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Our editorial direction for 2018

Now that 2018's here, I want to share the focus of our editorial direction work for the year to come. As with all our strategic content work, these plans will be iterated and developed as the new website progresses.

The principles are clear and simple, backed up by comprehensive objectives, values, standards, roles, and responsibilities.


  • we’re making our content more effective by making it easier to understand
  • we're committed to using plain English
  • our approach will be open, agnostic, and bicameral
  • we'll use data to influence and iterate

Let me break those commitments down for you ...

Taking the plain English approach

In the past, academic language and business jargon were considered the best way to show your expertise and knowledge. We now know that plain English makes a business smarter.

Smarter because we’re not hiding behind jargon.

Smarter because we’re accessible to everyone.

Smarter because we can be the authority on the things we’re experts in.

Smarter because providing clear, accurate information is better for our users.

The right content, in the right place, at the right time

In the past, work was done behind closed doors in meetings and on pieces of paper handed to one another.

We now know that if we want to build trust with our users, our work must be done in the open. It’s our responsibility to show how we work, how and why decisions are made, and what the processes look like.

We intend to develop agnostic strategies and be open to using data to influence where our content lives, and in what format. Even if this means content beyond the scope of

We're committed to creating the right content, at the right time, for the right people, in the right place. We'll also strive to create content that can be reused, repurposed, cited, and shared as easily as possible.

We'll always try to make sure the tools, rules, processes, and strategies are available to everyone so all our colleagues can benefit.

Using the power of data

It’s important we understand how people use so we can give them the right content, at the right time, in the right way. We know that our website must reflect the user journey, and how information is searched for and found, not the business structure.

We'll be using audience insight, analytics, user research, and social listening to develop topic hubs. These hubs will start to organise content in a way that reflects user journeys.

We'll develop content that reflects how people use it, both on and elsewhere. Finding and using the right tools will help us stay on top of trending topics, and can directly influence how we share content on other platforms, while making sure we remain politically neutral.

Where we go from here

We're already working with colleagues across Parliament to prepare the current website for migration. Part of this work includes examining the quality, style, and structure of the content to make sure it's right for our audiences.

We're progressing with content modelling, including best practice guidelines and requirements for managing the content production process. We'll soon be using a listening tool to help us better understand our audience, and we've started to build some personas for editors and social media audiences.

We've also purchased corporate access to the Plain English Campaign guides and glossaries, and we're building our content strategy toolboxes.

There's plenty of other things we're doing, but that's enough for now. Later this year I'll be back to update you on content modelling and the content production process in more detail.

Give me a shout on Twitter if you have any questions.

*Featured image by Chalky Lives using Creative Commons License 2.0

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