Content types we use

We use several content types (or types of pages) on the ONS website to present different types of analysis and information to users. The main content types we use are:

  • bulletins 
  • articles 
  • dataset pages 
  • methodology pages 
  • static pages 
  • digital content articles 

Once a page is created on the website, the content type cannot be changed. Contact content.design@ons.gov.uk if you are not sure which content type to use.  

Bulletin pages

statistical bulletin is always used for the first release of new data. It provides a short summary of findings and essential commentary alongside the data. It is usually a regular output that is published monthly, quarterly or annually as part of a series but can be published as a one-off.

statistical bulletin template is shown by the blue strip at the top of the page. 

Bulletins should always: 

  • follow a standard structure with standard section headings; a bulletin template is available to download 
  • include a contact details box on the right-hand side of the page 
  • be accompanied by at least one dataset 

Any related datasets must be linked to the bulletin. This generates the green “View all data used in this bulletin” button on the right-hand side of the page. 

Bulletins are built in a series, which links together multiple editions on a topic. View the Creating bulletins and articles in a series section for more detail on how series work. 

Article pages

Articles can be used to provide more detailed analysis on topics or to give updates or changes to a project or method. There are seven types of article on the ONS website. These are: 

  • in-depth analysis 
  • cross-cutting analysis 
  • review 
  • commentary
  • methodology changes
  • progress report 
  • digital content article

Our article guidance includes more information about each of these article types and how to structure them. View and download article templates.

Articles should only be used for presenting analysis of new data if they are published alongside a bulletin or data-only release. An article cannot be the only release of new data. If you are publishing the first release of new data, always use a bulletin, headline or data-only release.

Articles can be created in a series but most articles are likely to be one-off pieces of analysis. View the Creating bulletins and articles in a series section for more detail on how series work. 

Articles should not be used to provide detailed methodology information, such as processes, methods, quality or definitions. Use a methodology page for this type of content.

The content management system does not allow related downloads to be added on the right-hand side of an article page. We can include a green “View all data used in this release” button to link to any datasets referenced in the analysis. 

Creating bulletins and articles in a series

When publishing a release, we first need to establish where the publication needs to be built on the website. It will either be created in an existing series (if it is a new edition of an existing publication) or in a new series (if there is no previous edition).

A series is used to link multiple editions of an article or bulletin together. We are not able to mix content types in a series. This means if the first edition is created as an article, all future editions must be published as articles. It is important we get the content type and title right for the first release.

Contact content.design@ons.gov.uk if you are publishing a brand new series to ensure we use the correct content type and title.

The series is created using the title of the publication and this cannot be changed once it has been created. Everything in the title before the colon determines the series and everything after the colon forms the edition.

Baby names in England and Wales: 2021

This would be the “2021” edition of the “Baby names in England and Wales” bulletin series.

Existing series

A new edition of a bulletin or article should be created in the relevant existing series. This will link the latest release to any previous editions so that users can easily navigate between them.

When adding to an existing series, you will only need to update the edition (the part of the title after the colon).

New series

Bulletins and articles that are being published for the first time and are not updates of an existing publication should be created in a brand new series. The title should be agreed before the content is submitted to ensure it is frontloaded, topic-focused and meets ONS title guidance.

Contact content.design@ons.gov.uk with your title if you are publishing the first edition in a series. You can also view more detailed title guidance.

 

Digital content article pages

Digital content articles are collaboratively written with the Digital Content team. They use a neutral article template in Florence and are visually distinct from standard articles as they do not have a table of contents.

These articles are usually on a timely topic and are written for the inquiring citizen. The visualisations are designed so that they can be easily embedded in news websites. The template is designed for shorter articles, ranging from 1,000 to 3,000 words.

These can only be created in the main taxonomy and cannot be created in the census area of the site. They cannot be created in a series and will all be published as one-off, separate publications.

Scrollytelling” articles such as Exploring local income deprivation are based on a different template built by the Digital Content team. 

Email DigitalContent@ons.gov.uk to find out more about digital content articles.

 

Dataset pages

A dataset page provides users with data downloads (in XLS and CSV format) and any essential information about the data and how to use it.

There are two types of dataset pages: single file datasets and multiple file datasets.

Once you have chosen the page type and the dataset page has been created, it cannot be changed.

Contact Publishing@ons.gov.uk before the page is created if you are unsure which type of dataset page to use.

Single file datasets

The first type of dataset is where a single file is shown on the page, for example, the monthly Output in the construction industry dataset. This file is replaced each time a new version of the dataset is published. The file is labelled as the “current edition of this dataset” and this heading cannot be changed. Superseded versions of the file are available on the “previous versions” page.

Use this type of dataset if you only have one file and your users only need the most up-to-date data.

Multiple file datasets

The second type of dataset is where multiple files are shown on the page, for example, the Weekly deaths dataset. This means you can present the most up-to-date data for multiple time periods and geographies on a single page, without users having to scroll through all the previous versions. Each file has a unique label showing the time period or geography it covers. Each file also has its own previous versions page with superseded versions of the data.

Use this type of dataset if you want to present the latest data for different time periods or geographies, or want to publish provisional, final and revised data.

Dataset pages should not contain any detailed analysis, charts, presentation tables or sections.

The dataset title should not include the time period of the dataset. This should instead be included in the file edition name. View more detail on dataset titles.

Methodology article pages

Methodology article pages present information on the methods the ONS uses to produce statistics. This includes but is not limited to: 

  • Quality and Methodology Information (QMI) reports 
  • Quality Assurance of Administrative Data (QAAD) reports 
  • methodology guides and documents 
  • user guides 
  • glossaries (concepts and definitions) 

These pages should be used to provide detailed explanatory information on data sources, methods, data collection and other aspects of quality such as accuracy, reliability and comparability. They should not be used to present data or analysis. 

Methodology article pages are stand-alone and cannot be built in a series. Content on these pages is replaced as information is revised. These pages should not be used to present changes to a method where a series of articles is needed to show development over time. There is no previous edition, but the “last revised” date shows when it was last updated. 

These pages also allow you to add related downloads on the right-hand side. Avoid including any content that is PDF-only unless it has been agreed as an exception (for example, samples of the census questionnaire, which need to be published in the format they were used). These downloads can also be linked to from the text with clear link text that tells the user where the link will take them; this should also include the file type and size. 

Static pages

There are two types of static pages on the website: static articles and generic static pages. 

Static articles are similar to methodology articles but are mainly used for survey, census and corporate information. They have a table of contents but no PDF download. For example, the How to take part in the COVID-19 Infection Survey and census question development and research pages.

Generic static pages are text-only pages that can only be created in the About us section of the website. They are used to display news and general information, such as events or updates on the work of the organisation. They do not include a table of contents or the option for a PDF download. 

These are stand-alone pages that cannot be built in a series and do not have previous versions. They are different to methodology article pages as they can only be created in certain sections of the website, not in the main statistical areas. 

These pages also allow related downloads on the right-hand side. 

The publishing team can advise on which page type to use for your content – contact them at publishing@ons.gov.uk.

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. 

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.