How to highlight quality issues

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is having a significant impact on our data, you will need to highlight quality issues to the user. Research shows that while caveats and quality warnings are important to users, their priority is to read analysis and access the latest data. It is important to find the right balance between highlighting the impact on the quality of the data and not overwhelming users with detail.

Experimental statistics

If your release is classed as experimental statistics and there are quality caveats likely to apply to multiple releases and subsequent editions, use static quality information that can be repeated word for word. This can be proofread once by Content Design and inserted in other releases or future editions. Indicate that your release is experimental statistics in the page summary. 

Warning boxes

Use warning boxes to warn users how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the statistics. See Section 4 of this guidance for more information about how to write effective warnings.

Signposting to existing content

If relevant quality information has already been published in other releases or in ONS statements, hyperlink to this information rather than repeating it. 

Focus on user needs

Choosing the right channel

Consider if a statistical bulletin or article is the correct channel for communicating the information you have. 

If you have written a lot of detail on how the data were collected during the coronavirus pandemic, it may be better to publish this as a methodology article and link to it. A high-level look at how the ONS as an organisation is responding to the crisis may be better as a blog. If you wish to pay tribute to a colleague or stakeholder who has passed away due to COVID-19, a Reggie article or social media post would be more suitable.

Anticipating questions from users

Consider what questions users may ask about the data. If you expect there will be a lot of questions about the data quality or differences in data sources, then include a short summary in the Measuring the data section. 

More detailed information about the method or quality can be published in a separate article and linked to. This will keep your main content short and avoid duplication. GDS advise against using FAQ articles as these can be difficult for users to navigate. Group the information into topics and structure your article around these using clearly labelled section headings. 

If you are not sure how to present any additional coronavirus information, email content.design@ons.gov.uk.

Next section: Linking between content