Author Archives: Angharad Bishop

Cite this article

Writers and academics use citations to tell users that certain material in their work came from another source.  

We need to include a “Cite this article “section in our articles. This will help writers and academics to find the information they need, and cite our releases accurately and consistently. 

The “Cite this release” section will be the final section of the article and included in the table of contents. It needs to be formatted as:  

X. Cite this article 

Office for National Statistics (ONS), released XX Month 20XX, ONS website, content type, Title: edition with link embedded 

Do not include a citation in a digital content article, as these are aimed at inquiring citizens rather than academics and expert users.

Next section: What to avoid in your article

Referencing coronavirus in article titles

If the release is specifically about coronavirus, please include this in the title. Use the format “Coronavirus and [topic]” where possible. 

Coronavirus and employment for parents in the UK: October to December 2019

If the release contains some information on coronavirus, but this is not the main focus of the content, include “coronavirus (COVID-19)” in the summary and meta description. For example, the Homeworking in the UK – regional patterns: 2019 to 2022 article summary is: 

Homeworking during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, focusing on changes and how they have altered the distribution of labour across the UK. The Content Design team can help you write short, concise and frontloaded article summaries. Email Content.Design@ons.gov.uk. 

We are constantly improving based on research and best practice. Any significant changes to our guidance are available on the Updates page.

Next section: What to include in your article

Referencing coronavirus in bulletin titles

If the release is specifically about coronavirus, please include this in the title. 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey, UK: 20 May 2022

If the release contains some information on coronavirus, but this is not the main focus of the content, include “coronavirus (COVID-19)” in the summary and meta description. For example, the Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales bulletin summary is: 

Provisional counts of the number of deaths registered in England and Wales, including deaths involving coronavirus (COVID-19), in the latest weeks for which data are available. 

We are constantly improving based on research and best practice. Any significant changes to our guidance are available on the Updates page.

Next section: Main points and analysis

Headings and sub-headings

Headings and sub-headings help users to scan your content. They are also important for people using assistive technologies to navigate a page.  

Titles of releases should use the heading level 1 (H1) format and sub-headings under that move logically down the heading levels. Do not skip a level – for example, do not go from H2 to H4. Screen reader users may navigate content through heading levels so a missed level can be confusing.  

Make sure headings are short, frontloaded and use the active voice. 

Do not use questions in headings. They are not frontloaded, can take longer for the user to scan and are harder to understand. 

Use: 

“International migration definition” 

Rather than: 

“What is the standard definition of international migration?”

Use a statistical heading, describing the content of the following text, rather than a headline that describes the story. This is shorter and easier for the user to understand when scanning through the table of contents. 

Use:

Consumer Prices Index

Rather than

CPI rose by 5.5% in the 12 months to January 2022

See our Structuring content guidance for more information on how to write content.  

Mobile and tablet devices

Two-thirds of users on the ONS website are viewing the content on a mobile or tablet device. It is important to think about how content looks on these devices. 

Research shows that 80% of users on a mobile or tablet do not scroll past the first quarter of a release. Make sure to frontload the main information of your release in the opening sections by using the inverted pyramid. 

Media statements

ONS media statements and letters to the press are published in the Media section of the website. These are generic static pages and are used to provide updates and announcements on release plans and our statistics. Media statements should not be used for releasing new data or analysis.  

The content on these pages is usually also emailed directly to media contacts by the Media Relations Office. 

These are stand-alone, text-only pages but allow related downloads on the right-hand side to publish letters exchanged between the ONS and other government departments. 

Contact Media.Relations@ons.gov.uk if you would like to publish a media statement.

We are constantly improving based on research and best practice. Any significant changes to our guidance are available on the Updates page.

Freedom of Information requests

The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act provides the right for members of the public to ask public sector organisations for information or data they hold. Any member of the public can request these data. 

Our responses to these requests are published in the Transparency and governance subsection of the About us area on the website. 

These pages use specific templates, with the user’s request published under “You asked” and our response under “We said”. Many responses provide links to content that is already published on the website. They can also include tables from previously published bulletins and articles. Any downloads associated with the request can be added on the right-hand side as a PDF, Word or XLS file. 

Symbols and special characters

Some symbols and special characters can make your content confusing and difficult to read, especially for users who have accessibility needs. Some users depend upon assistive technologies that read out every character and symbol.

In your content, avoid using: 

  • a hyphen to indicate a range of numbers 
  • the ampersand symbol instead of “and” 
  • the more than or less than symbol 
  • the slash symbol in place of “or” 
  • the plus and minus symbol, unless in a dataset or table 
  • an exclamation mark, unless quoting directly

Where possible, write words in full instead of using symbols and special characters. This will make your content easier to read for all users.

Do

300 to 600 

“and”, “more than”, “less than” 

male or female 

Do not 

300-600 

“&” “<” “>” 

male/female

Symbols and special characters should only be used when there is no reasonable alternative. This ensures that all users can find, use and understand your content.   

In your content, you can use:  

You should avoid overusing symbols and special characters as this can overwhelm users and make your content difficult to read.

Do

The majority of respondents (67%) from our Labour Force Survey spent £80 to £90 in January to March 2022. This was a rise of 1% and the greatest increase since July to September 2020.

Do not

The majority, 67%, (66% in the previous Labour Force Survey (LFS)) of respondents from the Office for National Statistics’s (ONS’s) LFS, spent “£80-£90”, in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2022; a rise of 1% (the highest since Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2020).

We are constantly improving based on research and best practice. Any significant changes to our guidance are available on the Updates page.

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