Content design: planning, writing and managing content

Research and evidence

Tools and evidence to back up content design decisions.

Research and evidence

This section lists some of the main sources of information and research that support the Government Digital Service (GDS) style and approach to content design.

Content strategy

Letting Go of the Words Janice Redish

Content Strategy for the Web Kristina Halvorson, Melissa Rach

Clout: the Art and Science of Influential Web Content Coleen Jones

The Web Content Style Guide Gerry McGovern, Rob Norton, Catherine O’Dowd

User experience

Don’t Make Me Think Steve Krug

Nielsen Norman Group research Jakob Nielsen

GDS user research methods

Writing for the web

GOV.UK content principles: conventions and research background Reading University


Guardian and Observer style guide

The Economist style guide

New Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors

Tools to support content design

See the section on Data and analytics to find out how to research keywords and user behaviour.

Awesome screenshot

Awesome screenshot is an application that can capture, annotate, save and share screenshots. If you download it from the Chrome app store, it will be added to your bookmarks.

Check my links is an application that highlights broken links. If you download it from the Chrome app store, it will be added to your bookmarks. Just click it any time you want to check a page.

Find in admin

This bookmarklet allows you to jump immediately from a live page on GOV.UK to the corresponding admin page in Whitehall publisher.

You will need to be logged into your Whitehall account to set up and use the bookmarklet.


The Hemingway application highlights common errors. Use it to catch long sentences, adverbs, passive voice and complicated words.


Jargone is a browser bookmarklet for highlighting jargon words on any page. Just because Jargone flags something does not necessarily mean it’s banned in that context - check the style guide.

PDF accessibility checker

Upload a PDF to the PDF accessibility checker to run it through a WCAG test.