Know your audience

You must ask yourself who is the audience of your page and how do they want this information presented before you start to write.

Who is your audience

Knowing who the audience is will help you to put aside information you don't need before starting to write content for the web.

You may find that you can create a new page with the deleted information for another audience – eg: businesses.

Think about all of the following:

  • what your user is interested in or concerned about
  • why they are coming to your page
  • the terms and phrases they are likely to use.

This means your page will be focused on answering their questions and can be found easily.

How does the audience want to use the information

Find out the purpose of the page for the user. Ask yourself: what does the user want to know?

This will help you decide how to layout the information.

It will also help you decide what information should go at the top of page, and how to organise the rest of the information.

For example many users want to know the cost of a service or the value of a grant before they apply. On those pages you should put the price or value as close to the top of the page. That way it will also show in the search results.

Users do not want:

  • to know what the department is trying to achieve
  • the rationale for a program or grant
  • to be overwhelmed by information or options.

Remember you are having a conversation with residents or businesses to provide them with the most up-to-date information.

Users are rarely interested in background. If it must be included, put it towards the end of a page.

Headings and first sentence

Knowing who your audience is will help you to start writing the heading and the first sentence.

Read more about headings and subheadings in the A to Z style guide.

The first sentence should explain who the page is for.

Examples:

✔ Parents or carers who want to enrol their child in primary school must take the following steps.
✔ Primary producers must tag all of their livestock under Australian law.

The reader will then know if the information is for them or whether they need to find another page.

If it is a page for all residents, including businesses, you do not need to follow this rule.

Using you and your

By clearly stating who the information is for at the top of the page you can then refer to the audience as ‘you’ and ‘your’. 

If your page has more than one audience you may be able to break up the content into sub-headings.

Read more about using 'you' in the A to Z style guide.

Last updated: 05 September 2017