Structure - Writing for the Acas website


Structure is as important as words and phrases.

Quickly and simply give users what they need. Put the most important information first.

Titles and summaries

Titles and summaries help people to find and use our content.


Write titles that:

  • are shorter than 65 characters, including spaces
  • describe the page's content and purpose in a few words
  • have the most important and specific words first
  • are unique – different to any other page's title

In multi-chapter guides, each page title is in this format: [guide title] - [chapter title]. This means the chapter title and guide title together should be under 65 characters. This includes spaces and the dash.


Write summaries that:

  • are shorter than 160 characters, including spaces
  • describe the page's content in a sentence or short paragraph
  • include words and phrases that do not appear in the title
  • use full sentences and the active voice

Summaries do not appear on the published page.

They might appear:

  • in search results
  • on landing pages that link to the page

Page length

A page should have:

  • a clear audience
  • a single purpose

A page should be:

  • specific
  • as short as it can be
  • as long as it needs to be

Splitting long pages

Think about splitting a long page into 2 or more pages.

For example, if:

  • the page has a large section on one topic, then changes subject
  • users might need to skip a lot of content to find what they want

Merging short pages

Think about merging 2 pages if they are:

  • very short
  • about the same thing
  • competing in search for the same terms
  • not performing well in search for different terms

The Acas helpline

The website cannot explain everything.

Too much information can confuse users. Especially if it's not all relevant to them.

We should not try to explain:

  • every possible issue
  • unlikely issues that are low risk
  • maths – unless it is extremely simple

Explain as much as necessary – not as much as possible.

Tell users to contact the Acas helpline for issues that are:

  • complex
  • rare or specific
  • sensitive

Use the content pattern for the Acas helpline


Decide if a page is for:

  • employers
  • employees
  • both employers and employees

Single audience – employer or employee

Where possible, write to a single audience.

This will make the page:

  • more specific
  • easier to read

For example, on a single-audience page you could write 'check your contract'. This is easier to read than 'an employee should check their contract'.

However, do not create 2 guides with the same content, one for employers and one for employees. If employers and employees need to know the same thing, write to a joint audience.

Joint audience – employer and employee

Where necessary, write a page for a joint audience.

For example, you might write a joint-audience page when:

  • defining legal terms
  • employers and employees need to know the same thing

Avoid saying 'employer' and 'employee' too much. Users confuse these terms when scanning.

Where useful, mention both employers and employees in the introduction. This can help people understand the page is for them. For example, 'employers and employees should discuss problems early'.

Single-audience sections

Avoid writing single-audience sections on joint-audience pages.

Only do it if the section is:

  • very short
  • cannot be moved to a single-audience guide
  • is followed by a section for the other audience

For example, you could have 2 sections:

  • 'Making a request' – for employees
  • 'Responding to a request' – for employers

Do not have just one of them alone. Users might wrongly assume the page is just for that audience.

Begin a single-audience section by introducing the audience. Use 'as an employer' or 'as an employee'.

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