A Content and User Experience Strategy for local government

Updating my original content strategy first written in 2013. Still a work in progress, still subject to change and additions


In 2016 I released to the wider community a generic version of the Content Strategy I’d written for the previous version of the Birmingham City Council website, for the benefit of organisations still in the early stages of their learning about this topic. Now in 2023, as the local government digital sector is developing an increasing understanding of the principles of User-Centred Design, it makes sense to revisit that work and update it for our modern times. 

As a local authority it is obviously best if you write your own strategy based on your own user research and your own unique local circumstances. However, whilst John Dunlop did in fact very successfully reinvent the wheel, sometimes there are advantages in building on existing thinking rather than having to start completely from scratch. 

Many of the principles outlined are inspired by the work of others, most notably the Government Digital Service’s Style Guide and LocalGovDigital’s Content Standards, and further details can be found there.

There's a lot of text here; you probably won't want to read it in one sitting. I'll prepare a handy one-page summary once I've finished the main text - which isn't finished yet, I'm still working on what you can see here.

From a technical perspective, as presented here this is an example of a LocalGovDrupal Guide.

Difference between Content/UX Strategy and Content/UX Design

The Wikipedia article about Content Strategy goes into a fuller description as to what is actually meant by the term 'content strategy', but more concisely, to me strategy is the metadata to design — it’s the underlying design standards and principles which inform how a designer designs any given piece of content or user experience; it’s the context in which we're working in order to attempt to ensure our work is consistent no matter how many maintainers it has.

Last reviewed: 1 April 2024  
Next review: 1 April 2025

 14 October 2023 - Created
1 April 2024 - Definition added