Content Strategy Development: Aligning an IA with our Site's (and our Content's) Purpose

AGIMO - WPG Review Team
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Content on the Web Publishing Guide is designed to assist Australian Government agencies to:

  • Identify their legal and policy obligations
  • Meet their legal and policy obligations
  • Establish, manage and decommission their website(s)
  • Apply web-based technologies to achieve their business goals

Users may (we can't stress the 'may' bit enough) be able to navigate this content in one (or more) of several potential information architectures driven by:

  • Topic (e.g. Visual Design and Branding →  Branding → Design Elements)
  • Role

“I’m just a content author.  How do I meet the requirements?”

"I've been a web manager before, but this is my first time in government.  How is it different?"

  • Website Life-Cycle:

“We’re moving from our initial planning stages into a design phase.  What do we need to know?”

  • Compliance-Level, potentially answering the question:

“I’ve met the minimum requirements, what are the best practice recommendations for newer, or less common technologies?”

Supporting Multiple Discovery Paths

We recognise that there are many ways for visitors to our site to discover content - there are just as many ways that the content could be organised in a way that 'makes sense' for any given visitor. Let's take a sample page from the site (Online Content Requirements), and look at the many and varied ways it could be categorised:

Parent Topic(s) Role(s)
  • Content Author(s)
  • Communications Staff
  • Executive Sponsor(s)
Website Life-Cycle Stage(s)
  • Initial Planning
  • Ongoing
  • Decommissioning
Document Type
  • Guidance
Compliance Level(s)
  • Mandatory
Related Topic(s)

Adding a less-structured, free-flowing tagging system may also be a useful means of discovering related content on the site, and further boost keyword-based search relevance:

  • grants, oisos, privacy-statement, file-lists, contact-information, public-notices, media-releases, tabled-in-parliament
Multi-IA ROI

Previously, only a topic-based (and, to a lesser extent, compliance level-based) IA has been implemented.  If we decide to pursue multiple IAs, we'll have to train our content authors slightly differently to encourage them to use all of the available categorisation options. Once the categorisation data is in, the site will then be able to take advantage of it through enhanced internal and external search, and increasingly relevant navigation pathways. Much of this enhanced navigation can be rendered dynamically, but a subject matter expert will still need to be on hand to craft custom navigation landing pages, highlighting individual topices or pieces of guidance as required.

Comments (4)

Hi guys,

Is there progress towards having the Australian Government endorse WCAG 2.0 in replacement for WCAG 1.0?

It would be very useful for Departments to know in order to configure their new websites and include requirements in new tenders as appropriate.

The new standard for accessibility has been in place for over a year and the transition is much easier with some of the resources now available.



Hi Craig

There has been a lot of work done in recent months to consider the impacts to agencies of upgrading the requirement to comply with WCAG 1.0. More information should be available soon.

In the meantime, we encourage agencies to consider new standards in their upcoming website reviews and tenders.

To keep up to date on the latest improved web standards, web managers can learn more at the W3C website:

The WCAG 2.0 standard
How to Meet WCAG 2.0 (Quick Reference)
Understanding WCAG 2.0
Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)

Thanks for your query.

Web Publishing Guide Review Team

Will it ever become mandatory for all of Australian Government to conduct usability testing? I hope so!

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Last updated: 27 July 2016