Case study: Reviewing the Australian Government’s style manual
Published 24 June 2021, by Clare Reucroft in Content Process.
The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) asked Content Design London (CDL) to carry out a whole-of-publication review of the draft Style Manual for the Australian Government. The DTA wanted to ensure that the manual’s content is findable, readable, credible and usable.
The DTA wanted to engage with external expertise to help them understand the positives and any potential improvements of their draft Style Manual.
There were 5 main criteria that they wanted to frame the high level review:
- the overall feel,
- identifying gaps and errors,
- words, tone and values,
- and that content adhered to Australian Public Service values.
What CDL did
Working within a tight timeframe, our team worked systematically through the 141 pages of the Style Manual. We reviewed every page against each of the specified criteria and checked it for adhering to accessibility guidelines.
Our review process was guided by:
- the Readability Guidelines,
- the GDS style manual (for comparison),
- the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines,
- and widely accepted usability best practice.
Our methodology was to look at patterns within the Style Manual and address these, rather than look for individual examples.
After we completed the review of the draft Style Manual, we produced a report of our findings for the DTA. The report provided the DTA with a summary of our findings, and an overview of what was working well and suggestions for improvement.
What CDL achieved for the Australian Government
We asked the DTA what outcomes were achieved from CDL’s expert review:
“We found working with the CDL team easy and constructive. They quickly grasped our brief and provided a fresh perspective on our work. Most importantly, CDL provided clear, actionable recommendations that helped us improve the Style Manual. Their contribution gave us assurance that our content is findable, readable and usable.” Australian Government Style Manual team
Content Design London (CDL) provided the Australian Government with the following services:
- expert review,
- content auditing,
- content design.
The CDL team
- Sarah Walsh, senior content designer and strategist,
- Clare Reucroft, associate content designer,
- Ben Luby, accessibility consultant,
- Mary Connolly, delivery manager,
- Mark Picken, account manager.
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