We modify our usual social work practice approach in the context of a measles outbreak to prevent the transmission of the virus.
Measles and immunisation

Page URL: https://practice.orangatamariki.govt.nz/practice-centre-style-and-content-guide/how-we-write/our-style/
Printed: 19/05/2024
Printed pages may be out of date. Please check this information is current before using it in your practice.

Last updated: 30/03/2022

Our style

The 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 style

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.

The importance of plain language is recognised in New Zealand's Plain Language Act 2022. This Act aims to improve the effectiveness and accountability of government organisations, and to improve accessibility.
Plain Language Act 2022

We:

  • 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.

Common terms

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.

Links

Lists

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.

Example:

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.

Example:

Advising the caregivers of the allegation

Not:

Communication

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.

Example:

The caregiver review meeting has 2 purposes — to review the approval status of the caregiver, and to review their support plan.

Not:

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 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:

Dictionary.com

Te Aka Māori Dictionary

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.

NZ Government web standards