Concepts - Writing for the Acas website


We need to create content that is:

  • accessible
  • usable
  • inclusive

We also need to create content that is:

  • findable
  • discoverable

We apply these concepts through the way we write. Our rules on words, phrases and structure help us to do this.


Accessible content considers disabled people.

Avoid causing problems for people with:

  • sensory impairments – for example, limited vision
  • motor impairments – for example, people who use voice to navigate
  • cognitive impairments – for example, dyslexia

Examples of accessibility include:

  • use of headings – a proper heading structure makes a page easier to navigate for users of assistive technology
  • plain English – simple language is easier to understand for users with learning disabilities
  • avoiding italics – standard text is easier to read for users with dyslexia

The law

Our website must be accessible. This is by law: The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.

The law says all public sector websites must conform to:

"Level A and AA Success Criteria as set out in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines recommended by the World Wide Web Consortium"

Find out more about these accessibility requirements on GOV.UK


Usable content works well.

This means the content is:

  • effective – it meets user needs
  • efficient – it is simple and quick to use
  • satisfying – it solves problems and does not frustrate

Accessibility is about making things usable for disabled people. Usability is for everyone.

Consistency is important. By being consistent, we help users understand and predict how to use our website.


Inclusive content considers everyone.

Avoid excluding people.

Consider diversity, including:

  • disability
  • age
  • class
  • culture


Be aware of your own bias.

For example, content designers:

  • have office jobs
  • know a lot of words
  • are comfortable using websites

Avoid excluding people who, for example:

  • have different types of jobs
  • do not enjoy reading
  • are not comfortable using websites


Findable content gives users what they want.

To make content findable:

  • address user needs
  • use the same words and phrases as the user
  • structure content properly – for example, using clear headings
  • link to and from content to guide user journeys

Do not avoid what users are searching for.

For example, an employer might want to fire someone. Acas might want them to consider other options. But if we do not let them find content on firing people, they will go somewhere else.

Search engine optimisation

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is about making content findable.

There are different parts of SEO:

  • words – how text explains the content
  • structure – how a site is organised, including internal links
  • code – how HTML explains the content
  • speed – how fast the content loads
  • external links – how other sites point to our content
  • publicity – how people are encouraged to search different terms

We optimise content by:

  • following our rules on words, phrases and structure
  • creating usable and accessible content


Discoverable content gives users what they do not know they want.

Users do not always look for the right thing.

This can be because of:

  • using the wrong terms
  • lack of awareness
  • bias or existing opinion

Most users come to Acas with problems. We need to guide them towards good practice.

Example of using the wrong terms

Lex has 1 year's service and has been fired. Their employer breached their contract by not giving them notice pay. Lex thinks this is 'unfair dismissal'.

'Unfair dismissal' has a specific meaning in law. It is unlikely to apply to them.

What they might need is information on 'wrongful dismissal'.

We can help them discover 'wrongful dismissal' by including it in content about 'unfair dismissal'.

Example of lack of awareness

Riley wants to make 25 staff redundant.

They do not know:

  • other options, like reduced hours
  • the benefits of speaking to staff
  • that the law says they must hold a 'collective consultation'

We can help them discover consultation by including it in content about redundancy.

Example of bias or existing opinion

Fran thinks they should only make reasonable adjustments for specific disabilities. They want to know if long covid is one.

They do not know they're wrong about reasonable adjustments. They do not know about the risks of discrimination.

We can help them discover these things by including them in content about long covid.

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