Our styleThe basics of how we write for the Practice Centre — in plain language, using short, active sentences, and with descriptive page titles, introductory summaries and headings.
Our practitioners are short on time. They’re visiting the Practice Centre to answer a question or find a piece of information.
All our content should be:
- easy to skim read
- written with our 3 types of behaviour in mind (fact finder, process explorer, knowledge grower)
- brief and bite-sized (even complex topics should be written in simple sentences and broken up with helpful headings)
- written in plain language.
- say 'we' when talking about us as practitioners
- use contractions like we're or we'll
- mark up Māori words correctly, including macrons
- use respectful, inclusive language
- use tamariki and te tamaiti instead of children and child, and rangatahi when we need to explicitly refer to a teenager.
Rainbow inclusive language guide | Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission
Making content easy to read and skim
We can reduce the size of our pages and make them easier to read by:
- keeping sentences and paragraphs short
- using short words, such as 'use' not 'utilise'
- avoiding jargon
- adding frequent, descriptive headings
- breaking text up with bullet points
- putting links on separate lines.
Using active sentences
Make sure it’s clear who is doing what — if you can add 'by monkeys' to the end of a sentence, it’s passive and needs to be changed.
Once the report has been approved [by monkeys], it should be loaded to CYRAS [by monkeys].
To make this sentence active, start with the person responsible for each action:
Our practice leader must approve the report before we load it onto CYRAS.
Adding descriptive headings
Users scan a page before deciding whether to spend any time there.
We need to include enough information in each heading for a user to decide whether they need to read on.
Advising the caregivers of the allegation
Writing page summaries
We can make sure the introductory summary at the top of the page is unique and helpful, to make our search results page more usable.
The caregiver review meeting has 2 purposes — to review the approval status of the caregiver, and to review their support plan.
Find out about the purpose of the caregiver review meeting.
Tools to check our content
We can measure if we’re writing in plain language using:
- the Flesch Kincaid Reading Ease Score (available in Microsoft Word) — all our pages should ideally have a score of over 60 before they’re published
- online tools like Hemingway Editor and the Readability Test Tool.
Readability Test Tool
If we need help with spelling, grammar or punctuation issues not covered in this guide, we refer to:
Accessibility and usability standards
All content should meet the NZ Government web accessibility and usability standards. This ensures our content is accessible to anyone on any device.