Avoid these common publishing mistakes

Some common mistakes to avoid during your content publishing phase.

After content publishing is completed, the edu.nsw team will schedule a phase of testing and review called verification. The verification report identifies accessibility, content and user experience issues prior to go live ensuring your web section is WCAG AA compliant and aligned with the departments content and user experience guidelines.

Issues are grouped by levels of severity from Critical (must fix prior to launch) to Low (nice-to-have improvements).


Will stop the user from being able to achieve the task. Major issues with accessibility, usefulness, readability, accuracy, brand/voice appropriateness or grammar/style. Must fix prior to launch.

The best approach for inaccessible documents is migrating the information into HTML (web page) on education.nsw. Register for training (staff only) to learn how to make your content accessible. Find resources in the Accessibility toolkit to help you meet accessibility standards.

Apply correct heading structure. Example H3 can not follow a H1. Order should be H1 then H2 then H3. Note: The first heading level in your text editor will be a H2 as the page title is H1. But always use a lead paragraph before H2.

Accessibility guidelines require links to documents to include the file type and download size. Example of a word document summary is (DOC 200 KB). For more examples refer to our Hyperlink guidelines.

If a page name is changed the URL doesn't update automatically. Depending on your content management system, there are different ways to update the URL without breaking links on referencing pages. Submit a Zendesk request if you need help changing the URL of your pages or setup vanity links.

Text alternatives ('alt text') convey the purpose of an image, including pictures, illustrations, charts, etc. Text alternatives are used by people who do not see the image.

For example, people who are blind and use screen readers can hear the alt text read out; and people who have turned off images to speed download or save bandwidth can see the alt text. Refer to our Image and caption guidelines.

People using screen readers can't understand information in inaccessible tables with no headers. Also consider if the information needs to be in a table. Refer to our Table guidelines.


Likely to stop the user from being able to achieve the task. Minor issues with accessibility, usefulness, readability, accuracy, brand/voice appropriateness or grammar/style. Recommend fixing prior to launch.

When abbreviating the NSW Department of Education, use 'the department' wherever possible. If space is a factor, such as in a tweet or a table heading, use 'DoE'. Update out of date references such as the Department of Education and Training (DET) and the Department of Education and Communities (DEC). Refer to the Content style guide.

Always copy and paste content into word as plain text before pasting into the content management system. Copying and pasting directly from websites can insert incompatible formatting and corrupt the content editor, causing accessibility fails and errors.

Page titles should be specific and comprehensive, accurately describing the information it leads to. Refer to user experience rules and tips.

Content needs to be published to display online. This includes images and documents in the assets areas of Adobe Experience Manager. If they aren't live users won't see the document, image or changes you have made on the page.

Always spell check content before publishing online and use Australian English. See our A to Z listing of common department spelling and grammar in the Content style guide.

Metadata is information about your content that allows users to find what they're looking for. For more information see our pages on Writing for searchand How to write a meta description.


Will make it difficult for the user to achieve the task. Content improvements would enhance accessibility, usefulness, readability and accuracy. Can be addressed after launch.

When linking to internal assets and other education.nsw pages it's important to relative link. How to relative link will vary depending on your content management system. On Adobe Experience Manager, link by inserting the backend page path. On Squiz Matrix, link to the asset ID.

By relatively linking you avoid broken links when URLs change. Refer to our Hyperlink guidelines.

Accessibility guidelines are not to open links in a new window. Please do not select 'Open a new window' or 'New tab' when adding a hyperlink. Keep the default settings of your content management system. On Adobe Experience Manager, that is 'Target'. For more information, see our How-to guide on linking and Linking to a document.

Consider your audience when deciding whether to spell out an acronym, particularly in headings. Refer to the Content style guide for a list of common examples.

Keep capital letters to a minimum. Refer to the Content style guide - capital letters for a list of specific examples.

Change the link text to include key subject words or match the link text to the destination. There shouldn't be any surprises or need to search for information. Refer to our Linking guidelines.

Link directly to source content. Duplicated content on multiple pages/web sections will become irrelevant when the source information is updated, causing confusion for users. Review the User experience guidelines.

Medium – Low

Will cause some confusion or annoyance, or will slow down the user. Some content improvements would enhance brand/voice appropriateness or grammar/style. Can be addressed after launch.

Applying bold formatting to text that should be a heading makes it less descriptive to screen readers and is visually inconsistent with the education.nsw theme. Apply appropriate heading structure to text. Refer to the Heading guidelines.

Give context to what information users will find on a page and make the first paragraph stand out by using the lead paragraph style.

Call out boxes are designed to draw the user's attention. Use this component sparingly as excessive use will diminish its impact on the page. Position in the middle of the page or at the bottom. Be consistent with how you use them.

Frequently asked questions often indicate a poor website structure. The answers should be weaved into the content. Refer to our guidelines Frequently asked questions - why we don't use them.

Review content to use active tone of voice. Using the right tone of voice is key to making sure everyone who interacts with our content has a consistent experience. Use our Tone of voice guidelines to decide how to write on behalf of the department.


Nice-to-have improvements.

If the image is purely decorative and doesn't add context to the content then don't use it. For detailed information on when you can and can't use images refer to our Image guidelines.

All short descriptions should have a full stop at the end.

Review content and tone of voice to be consistent throughout.

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