Every site we build goes through rigorous technical and quality checks before being released into the wild. I’m involved in the quality side as part of the editorial team who are responsible for proofreading the content.
There’s a simple reason for all the checks we do prior to making a site live: visitors to your site will judge you for the mistakes they find. And that judgement could be the difference between recruiting a student or attracting a new member of staff/partner/funder, or not.
Here’s our checklist of things to look out for.
Spelling and grammar
First on the list is a check to make sure there are no typos or spelling mistakes – we get help with this from SiteImprove.
We’ll also check the grammar. A misplaced comma can make a massive difference to the meaning of a sentence.
Clarity and consistency
We’ll check to make sure content is as clear as possible. Sentences and paragraphs should be short. Content should be direct and helpful – if you’re inclined to ramble, beware.
We’re looking for use of plain English. We’ll remove jargon, caveats and unnecessary words.
We’re also looking out for cases of repetition – within the page and across the site.
Currency and accuracy
Part of the proof is to make sure content is current and accurate. When we’re migrating sites we begin with a snapshot of content, and this can often go out of date during the development phase. The most common instance is where deadlines have passed.
Content and editorial standards
We have a set of content and editorial standards that help us maintain consistency across the University website. You can get a flavour of these standards through our quick guides series. Part of our proofreading is to make sure content meets these standards.
We always make sure that someone who hasn’t worked on the content before takes on the role of proof reader. This fresh pair of eyes is more likely to spot anything that doesn’t make sense and might confuse the user.
Give it a go
Why not use our proofing checklist to make sure anything you publish on your site meets the web team’s standards. We’ve produced a content quality checklist (PDF: 74KB) to help with this.