How-to checklist

Suggestions for How-to pages.

Findability

  • Use keywords in the page Title, Short Description, and high up on the page. Think of the search terms your users would use.

  • Search for your page’s Title on Mass.gov to make sure your title is distinguishable from other content.

  • Link this page to at least 1 Service Page in the Tasks or Featured sections.

  • Make sure related pages link to this page, and that those links are written in language visitors would use.

Outcomes

  • Make sure your Action Type verb is the verb your users would use.

  • Write the Short Description so that it tells users what they can do on the page.

  • Add key links to the Quick Actions section.

  • Duplicate Quick Action links in rich text in the right Methods section, e.g. “Online,” “In person” etc..

  • If relevant, fill out the Fee Information field.

  • In the Methods section, “online” should contain a link, “in person” an address, “phone” a phone number, and/or “fax” a fax number.

  • Fill out the Contacts section.

  • If this How-to links to an application off Mass.gov, explain what users can do at the off-site application.

  • Is this page addressing multiple audiences? It might be better off as 2 pages (e.g. 1 for businesses and 1 for individuals).

Content Quality

  • Write the Title in sentence case (only capitalize the first letter and proper nouns).

  • The Title should begin with an action verb (apply, buy, renew, request, etc.) Make sure this is the same as the Action Type verb.

  • Do the Title and Short Description work together? Write them so that the title states plainly what the page is about and the short description says what you can do.

  • Spell out acronyms the first time you use them.

  • Check your content’s grade level using Siteimprove. Work toward grade 8 or below. If you don’t have access to Siteimprove, open a service request in ServiceNow to ask for an account.

  • If grade level is above 8, user simpler sentences, smaller words, fewer adjectives and adverbs, and eliminate technical terms.

  • Make sure link text is accessible: Read it aloud to see if users can tell from the text alone where the link takes them.

  • Look at your content on a mobile phone. Check that it displays correctly and that all the links work.

  • If you need to add multiple sections of content, consider moving some information to a Service Detail page about eligibility.

User Satisfaction

  • Look for references on the page to other content you’ve authored, and change those references to inline links.

  • If users might need to find a location, link to a Location Listing in the “In person” section.

  • Fill out the Related Links section based on trends in user feedback.

  • Add or clarify content based on trends in user feedback.

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