Over the last few months we have been working with Richard Campbell (@Rjtcampbell_ONS) and his CPI production team to investigate and test ways to improve the way we communicate some of the information that supports their statistics. The CPI team came to us after identifying a number of frequent misconceptions from user feedback and common questions which gave birth to the ‘Inflation myth-busters’ concept.
Historically, this supporting information has been published in the form of detailed PDF articles and although these have proved useful for an expert audience various incorrect assumptions about these inflation statistics remain and are repeated on a monthly basis.
We quickly discarded the idea of targeting a specific piece of content at each of these myths directly (as we might have done in the past), and instead tried to think of the questions users would be looking for answers to. We decided to look at how we communicate this information as a whole, making what was already available more accessible and supporting this with new products, where these would make information easier to understand.
This re-launched section has been designed and structured with the website user personas in mind and the written content is supported by infographics, video and stories where these have been appropriate and useful for explanation. Examples of the new content include;
- An infographic explaining how different housing costs are measured in price indices
- A short story on ‘What is the basket of goods?’ and a ‘What makes up the basket of goods’ infographic
- An infographic explaining how the CPI is calculated
- A short film explaining the basics of inflation using a mixture of live action and animation
Getting the balance right so that these products were informative, interesting and understandable to new users of the subject, but at the same were statistically sound and useful to more experienced users was an interesting challenge, but one that been enjoyable and ultimately, we feel, very productive.
We are now closely following feedback for these products, both through comments and web analytics and continue to iteratively improve the section. As part of this we will also be conducting some simple user testing later this month to see how the structure holds up and to identify any issues. The reaction so far, both from users and colleagues has been universally positive and there is an eagerness to try this approach with other outputs.
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