Plan for the future

As well as planning the document now, think about future needs. Ask yourself:

  • Will the document need to be repeated (eg is it a report that is published each year)?
  • Will the information need to be updated (eg if guidelines change or new data are collected)?
  • Will the content be expanded or cut (eg if new sections are added to a website)?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you can start to plan now to make the process easier in the future.

Planning for the future should consider the following:

  • Structure. A clear, logical structure will help you to repeat, update or expand content. It is particularly important to make sure web content has a robust information architecture that can absorb additions without reducing navigability. Can you add, remove or change sections without having to heavily rewrite or rearrange other sections?
  • Process. Think about how the process worked this time, and how it could work better next time.
  • Schedule. Make a schedule for when information will be collected, drafted, approved and published.
  • Documentation. Make sure you document every aspect of the process, especially for complex documents, so that others can follow in your footsteps. Your documentation should include:
    • where information comes from
    • the writing and editing process
    • the approvals and publication process
    • key contacts for each stage of the process.

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