Website Writing Guide

Writing for government websites

User testing with citizens and businesses

The quickest and most effective way to find out what content your audiences want is to ask them!

This need not be an expensive and time-consuming exercise.

Here are some ways to find out what they want:

  • Email colleagues and friends who are representative of the target audiences and ask them for feedback. Be explicit about what feedback you’re looking for – eg ask for comments on style, tone, layout, headings and vocabulary.
  • Form a small group of users (up to 10) who agree to be emailed or brought in to the office regularly to provide feedback on certain sections of the site.
  • Place a request for feedback link in a prominent place on the Web page.
  • Research on the Web – seek reports on user expectations and needs.
  • Engage a market research company or website consultant to research your users’ needs.


User scenarios

When trying to understand what content the various audience sectors want on your website, it is useful to develop scenarios for each user type. This entails writing a narrative describing their thinking and activities prior to, during and after visiting your site.

This helps the writer to stand in the shoes of typical users and experience the content from their view point.

See also: Identifying the intended audiences


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