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Toolkit
Toolkit

Content Findings Overview

When EY Intuitive assessed the sites for the usability of their content, the team looked at how the content was written (i.e., Plain Language); who could read it (i.e., Language Access); and how it was presented (i.e., Content Presentation). Please see the full report for a complete discussion of [content/access/design –depends on the section] findings.

Plain Language

Sites written in Plain Language provide content that is understandable by a wide audience (e.g., uses simple language and sentence structure, and avoids jargon).

Approach:

EY Intuitive assessed Plain Language criteria on key pages such as the homepage, the custody subtopic page, and a content article.

Some of the criteria for Plain Language included:

  • Content written at a 6th grade reading level or below.
  • Content free of jargon, spelling, and grammatical errors.
  • Key content described in multiple ways to accommodate differences in natural language.

Key Findings:

  • Most sites provided adequate Plain Language through homepage readability and error-free content.
  • Sites generally did not meet criteria for readability on content-rich pages (e.g., articles) and did not consistently provide content that supported reading comprehension (e.g., topic summaries).

Recommendations:

  1. Revise content pages for easier readability.
  2. Provide summaries for topics, subtopics and articles in user-centered terminology. Break down complex topics with short, but meaningful summaries.
  3. Use tools to check and lower reading levels of key content and jargon.
  4. Create a common set of terminology for topics and legal issues in non-legal jargon that the network can adopt.

Tools and Resources to Consider:

Representative tools and resources to help with Plain Language include:


Language Access

Language Access is the extent to which a site provides access to diverse users through Limited English Proficiency (LEP) support.

Approach:

EY Intuitive reviewed the translation services on each website (if available), at the global level, subtopic level, and referral services access point (e.g., Find a Lawyer landing page).

Some of the criteria for Language Access included:

  • Provides translated content at the subtopic level (e.g., legal issues).
  • Provides translation at referral services access points so that LEP users can find and act upon legal help information.

Key Findings:

  • Many sites did not provide access for the three largest LEP populations in their state.
  • Those sites that provided some form of translation did not consistently provide the same content to LEP populations as to English speakers.

Recommendations:

  1. Provide human-translated mirror sites for top LEP populations.
  2. Provide human translation for critical user tasks, such as finding legal help, or create landing pages that direct LEP site users to resources in their own language for top LEP populations.
  3. Provide global access to translated content via a global site link displayed in the language (e.g., en español, Tiếng Việt) and accessible globally across all pages.

Tools and Resources to Consider:

  • To learn about LEP and an extensive list of translated resources visit LEP.gov.
  • Engage low-cost human translators (e.g., volunteers, students/interns, online fee per word/per hour services) for general content on the site.
  • Engage multi-lingual legal experts for translation review of legal content and forms.
  • Incorporate an automated translation tool to provide global translation services on the site.

Content Presentation

Content presentation considers the type of content the site provides and how well it supports users in finding it.

Approach:

EY Intuitive reviewed the article listing page for the legal issue "Custody" and the first content page under "Custody" to document the availability of topics, structure, variety and presentation of content.

Some of the criteria for Content Presentation included:

  • Lists all key topics and legal issues (e.g, Family, Housing, Money).
  • Places most important information in articles first to support readability and scanning.
  • Cross-links related content.
  • Provides media to enhance comprehension of textual content.

Key Findings:

  • Two-thirds of the sites listed all key topics and legal issues (as identified by LSC) and indicated content source (i.e., content author or contributor).
  • Many sites did not cross-link to related content, missing an opportunity to help users access related information from different areas of the site.
  • Most did not follow an inverted pyramid hierarchy for content pages. As a result, users must read very carefully in order to differentiate between important content and supplementary facts.

Recommendations:

  1. Provide breadth and depth of content for all key topic areas. This includes information to self-educate about a legal issue, a mechanism to solve the legal issue, and a mechanism to get legal help.
  2. Use an inverted pyramid approach on content pages to elevate and emphasize critical information. Structuring content in this way positions content on the page so that it's presented in priority order.
  3. Provide contextual links to related on-site content in order to support discovery of important information or workflows.

Tools and Resources to Consider:

Representative tools and resources to help with Content Presentation include:

  • The toolkits provided on the Michigan legal aid website and the West Virginia website (both custom sites), which assemble articles and forms for a particular issue and guide end users to the help they need.
  • Purdue OWL or other online writing centers
  • Articles by user experience practitioners like Nielsen Norman Group or others on how to write meaningful, descriptive hyperlinks