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Digital service toolkit

Content strategy

Our information is a key service we provide and one of our main assets. The content strategy will help the Parliament make a positive difference to the lives of the people of Scotland by providing information:

  • that can be easily found
  • in language that everyone can understand
  • in formats that everyone can use
  • that works across our channels
  • that performs well on different devices

This will make our information service efficient, effective, compliant and reach further.

What’s included (and excluded) from this strategy

The content strategy applies to information we communicate using words, including data, videos, social media, documents and offline materials like leaflets.

The benefits of the content strategy apply to all content that the Parliament produces apart from some specific types of content, such as information provided to us by the Scottish Government. 

Content strategy

The Scottish Parliament’s content strategy is centred around 4 principles. Content that is:

  • user-centred
  • findable
  • consistent
  • accessible

The content strategy aligns to the Parliament’s digital strategy and public engagement strategy in its efforts to help the organisation meet the ambitions of its Strategic Plan, organisational values and the Parliamentary Reform Commission language recommendations.

Our content is user-centred

We put the needs of the people who use our information at the heart of what we create.

How it links to Parliament’s wider goals and values

  • Values: Excellence and Inclusiveness
  • Strategic Plan’s goal of ‘informing, involving and being accountable to the people of Scotland.’
  • Commission on Parliamentary Reform point on making the language used closer to ‘everyday language’ and about language used being meaningless outside the ‘Holyrood bubble’

How we’ll meet this principle

  • staff understand who they’re creating information for and working across teams to deliver a positive user experience
  • all content has verified user needs and goals
  • decisions are driven by performance data and findings from user research
  • we stop creating information that people don’t need
  • move from ease of putting information into PDFs to better understand format needs
  • organisation knows what information it’s creating and how it impacts the existing content ecosystem

How we’ll measure success

  • a reduction in the information we create and the channels we use
  • goal completion testing – users can complete what they came to the website to do
  • regular user needs audit of content

Our content is findable

We prioritise helping people who want our information to find it as quickly and easily as possible.

How it links to Parliament’s wider goals and values

  • Values: Stewardship
  • Strategic Plan’s strategic goal of ‘being accountable to the people of Scotland’.

How we’ll meet this principle

  • content specialists managing the structure of our web services and our information
  • content checked by specialists for findability good practice and our Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) standards
  • adherence to archiving policy to ensure that content is removed when it’s no longer needed
  • design content around what people are searching for
  • regularly test where users expect to find information and put content where people expect to find it
  • move away from using PDFs for our information

How we’ll measure success

  • check time spent for users completing tasks
  • check that content can be found on website search and is found on the first page of search engine results
  • check content has unique, clear headings
  • review how many times users have to search to find what they were looking for
  • monitor the number of people that ‘bounce’ on our website – who leave after just 1 page

Our content is consistent

We implement a consistent quality, style and tone for all online information.

How it links to Parliament’s wider goals and values

  • Values: Excellence and Stewardship

How we’ll meet this principle

  • content specialists working with teams across the Parliament to ensure all content:
    • meets the style guide and is written in Plain English as dar as possible
    • meets readability standards
    • is written to be easily read online
  • Digital Communications and Content Team staff managing our content across channels and using governance to deal with content that does not meet prescribed content standards
  • content is written to be understood by all of our users and, where technical language must be used, we give Plain English explanations

How we’ll measure success

  • regular reviews of web pages to make standards are being met and providing training if required 
  • roll out and development of style guide
  • explanation of technical terms in Plain English
  • content is created once and used across channels

Our content is accessible

We ensure our information is open and understandable for anyone who wants to look at it.

How it links to Parliament’s wider goals and values

  • Values: Inclusiveness and Respect
  • Public Engagement Strategy goal of ‘improving awareness of the relevance and accessibility of Parliament, particularly in under-represented groups.’

How we’ll meet this principle

  • testing content for accessibility with users who have accessibility requirements and with tools such as screen readers
  • publishing process where content specialists check accessibility of content
  • training for staff across the organisation to ensure accessibility is being considered when creating content and what’s required to make content accessible is understood

How we’ll measure success

  • regular checking that our content complies with the WCAG 2.2 standards (recognised accessibility standards)
  • annual audit conducted by external specialists