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Content clinic in Sheffield: what we talked about

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Our second content clinic field trip took us to Sheffield. More than a dozen content designers came together to talk about what works or doesn’t work for them on GOV.UK.

Open data formats

Linda Humphries spoke again about government taking the lead on open formats for documents and what this means for publishers. She gave examples of how using these formats help users, as well as information about how departments are starting to make the change.

Content guidance

Lynne Roberts showed how to navigate our content and publishing guidance. We’ve now got best practice examples for about half the content types, and we’re adding more every week. If you find any good examples, please let us know.

We’re also working to fill all the gaps in our guidance. We have a long list we’re working through, but let us know if you need anything urgently.

/info/ bookmarklet

We looked at /info/ pages on GOV.UK, which contain useful data about user needs and metrics for individual URLs.

We were asked for a bookmarklet to make it easier to switch between page content and details about user needs and pageviews.

Richard Boulton, a developer at GDS, has come up with one:

javascript:(function()%7Bvar newpath, p=window.location.pathname;if(p.substr(0,6)=="/info/")%7Bnewpath=p.substr(5)%7Delse%7Bnewpath="/info"+p%7Dwindow.location.pathname=newpath%7D)()

Each browser will be different, so check how to install a bookmarklet in whichever browser you’re using.

Questions we covered

Centralised publishing

Several organisations have, or are looking at, restructuring their publishing teams following the move to GOV.UK. We were asked for examples, and what the results have been. We’ve added this to the top of our ‘to do’ list, and are bringing together examples now. If you would like to be part of this conversation, please email

External links in collections

To link to external sites from document collections, use Markdown in the document or group body copy. Don’t create publications linking to external pages so that you can list them as documents in a collection as it complicates the user journey. An example of good practice is Jeni Pitkin's collection on changes to a BIS apprenticeship scheme.

Easy Read

We've had a few questions recently on the best way to display easy read alternatives to mainstream content. Mencap is concerned that some mainstream content and navigation are too complicated for people who need easy read content.

We don't have a final solution for this, but we're looking at the best way to show this information across the site. For now, we suggest you:

  • look at the user need for further simplifying content
  • create Easy Read guides as PDFs
  • group Easy Read guides in a collection

You could also request a short URL for the collection, so users can find it easily. We haven't drafted any guidance, but DH has a booklet on commissioning easy read materials.

There were a few questions we didn’t have time for. We asked editors to put these to the wider content community. If you need access to the community, email

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