CP 1 Aim for maximum consistency between content pages

Consistency is one of the most important principles of providing good online content.

Cross-page consistency assists people to efficiently access and utilise your information, rather than wasting time repeatedly working out how each new page works.

Being forced to relearn the structure of every page or section each time is annoying for everyone - however, it can make life particularly difficult for some people (e.g. Users of screen reader or screen magnification software).

People should be able to confidently predict where various page elements can be found.

  • Use templates or the content management system as intended:
    • Ideally you should have a defined format in which to produce your content - this should take care of many of the consistency issues.
  • Be as consistent as possible e.g:
    • The look, colour and placement of links:
      • avoid changing from the default style for your site;
    • The position, and appearance of recurring items: e.g.
      • summaries,
      • Contents lists,
      • Headings and sub-headings,
      • Data tables,
      • Images;
    • The style and tone of writing;
    • General document structure.

Tip: If you do not have templates, a content management system or guidelines for producing content, consult with other content providers to define a consistent approach. Review the content produced to ensure that the approach is adequate to meet your needs and is easy to stick to.

Tip: Have accessible templates produced by someone familiar with the technical aspects of coding for the web.

Note: It may make sense to change the format for certain pages or sections - just make sure you make each natural section as consistent as possible.

Good: Consistent pages throughout a site  Poor: Each page is different - no chance to predict the format of different content pages