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How to produce better information

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This section of the site is intended to help with the practicalities of creating and updating information. It is concerned with the techniques involved in designing and delivering individual information projects – it does not look at the strategic considerations of providing information as a whole. The 'chapters' won't all be relevant to everyone. If you are new to information production or have only worked on one type, this section will guide you though the process from beginning to end, helping you deal with some of the more thorny and contentious issues.If you’re an old hand, you can dip in and out to find guidance on a particular area of information production. Of course you will already have your own procedures, but chances are there will be something that another organisation is doing that you haven’t yet tried.

What is the need?

Woman Wrapped Up New If you’re thinking about producing new information, you need to be sure that your audience needs it. Before you begin planning your project you need to find out about the issue, who it affects, and how.

What are you trying to do?

Franklyn New Information projects will have a range of objectives and outcomes. Some try to raise awareness, others try to get people to take a particular action, or guide people though a process, etc. It is important that you are clear what...

Who is it for?

Young Woman In Cafe New It is important to be clear about who you are aiming your information at and, crucially, what they need from it. The more targeted and specific you are, the more effective your information is likely to be.

How will you ensure it provides what the audience need?

Man In Cap Smiling New It doesn't matter how much you are in touch with your audience, you can never see something exactly as somebody else will see it. Only members of your target audience will be able to tell you if the information meets their needs.

What format should you use?

Advice Now Web 0036 Op Most organisations tend to produce information using the same delivery mechanism and format each time. But the needs and preferences of the target audience should be the main factor in deciding what delivery mechanism and format...

Should it be available in other languages?

Advice Now Web 0016 Op We all agree that, in an ideal world, information would be available to everybody in all languages. In this imperfect world, we need to look at whether translation is an effective use of resources.

How will you produce it?

Advice Now Web 0002 Op It is important to think about the process you use to produce information. Here we discuss how you can ensure that your brilliantly conceived information product is still brilliant at the end of the process.

How will you make the information easy to use?

Homeless young woman new We know how hard it can be to make sure that the language you use is clear, the concepts make sense, and that the resource works as whole. To help with this, this page provides some tips that we've learnt from our evaluations and...

What presentation techniques will you use?

Young couple smiling There are loads of different ways to present information. Using a variety of techniques helps to grab and maintain reader interest, caters for different people's learning styles, and reinforces key messages.

How will you ensure it is accurate?

Advice Now Web 0023 Op Sometimes a piece of information can take months to get to the publishing stage. Any number of things can change while you're busy debating phrasing with the expert. So you need to take steps to ensure that your information is still...

What will it look like?

Children new Users will make split-second judgements about your information based on its appearance. So it's important to think carefully about design and positioning.

How will you reach your audience?

Advice Now Web 0030 Op With all the effort of producing the information, sometimes the act of getting it to the intended audience is overlooked. So, it's crucial to plan and budget for dissemination.

How will you monitor and evaluate it?

Advice Now Web 0033 Op This section looks at the importance of monitoring and evaluating information projects and provides advice and practical help on how you can evaluate perhaps just one thing per project....

Order your copy of the handbook - FREE!

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Contact us to order you copy of the Better Information handbook. We'll only charge you postage and packing. Alternatively you can download the Better Information Handbook (1.4 MB). Or contact us for the handbook in an alternative format.