Training staff to write for the web

In the government’s last website migration project over a decade ago, we simply moved content from the old website to the new website. We didn’t asses or rewrite the content, we just moved it and continued to add to it over the years.

This time around we have reviewed our content to make sure it is relevant, up-to-date and that it has been re-written to meet a user need. This is a new way of thinking for many government staff so we made this “Writing for the web” training mandatory for all staff who will be writing and editing content on Yukon.ca.

Before Yukon.ca

In 2016 the Department of Tourism and Culture participated in a pilot project to test the Drupal platform. Part of this process was to train staff to write content for the web. We facilitated a two-day workshop where staff learned about best practices and approaches for web writing as well as the government’s writing standards and guidelines. They applied this learning to specific examples on their department website.

We used this model to develop training to prepare the transition team to write webpages for the launch of Yukon.ca, the government’s new website. Since this time, the course has evolved.

Training staff to write web pages for Yukon.ca

Initially we used the two-day workshop to write webpages we would migrate to Yukon.ca. We took their feedback and modified the course. We were able to dial the class back to a one-day workshop focused on teaching participants high level best practices and writing exercises that weren’t government-focused. We want participants to have fun, introduce them to the concept of writing for the web and build a foundation of skills.

Bringing local vendors on board

Once we had fine-tuned the curriculum we trained five staff from local vendors to teach the course. We still coordinate this training through the Executive Council Office, but it also gives departments the option to hire one of these vendors to teach smaller groups.

How many government staff have been trained?

To date, we have trained around 250 government staff to write for the web. We are always striving to improve how we communicate with the public. We will continue offering this course and will look at adding more specialized training as we move through the content migration process and continue to improve our content on Yukon.ca.

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