The Active Citizen project changes Moscow for the best: the participants vote to determine the look of new Metro stations, parks and courtyards. The service had one important issue: all text on the website and in the app was written in a dry bureaucratic language that scared users away.
Detailed editorial guidelines for Active Citizen were developed at the studio. The guidelines help turn the information on the website into an exciting story.
All text on the website is written for active residents of Moscow of various ages and backgrounds, which means it has to be engaging but neutral.
There are a few standard formats: polls, poll results, news, press releases, mailings. All of them possess common traits such as style and tone, but differ in other parameters.
The guidelines formulate the principles of creating material for all types of text and for each format in particular.
To make sure text is easy to read, it has to be written in a human language. Don’t write sentences that no one will use in everyday speech. Short and clear phrases are sufficient.
The guide includes a large list of style and grammar recommendations complete with examples. Each rule is illustrated with samples of good and poorly written texts presented as Before and After.
All poorly written samples were taken from the old Active Citizen website and rewritten according to the guidelines.
Dear Ivan Ivanovich!
You took part in all polls of the first stage of the Vote All Summer event. There’s just a little more to do: activate the promotional code AGLETO1 before 23:59 July 17, 2016 and you can win 2 invitations to the Second International Fireworks Festival Rostekh that will take place in Brateevsky Park and will gather the best fireworkers from eight countries.
The winners will be determined by a random number generator and on June 19 we will announce the names of the those lucky ones who will receive letters notifying them of their victory.
Follow the project news and continue to vote, as the second stage of the event has already started. If you have any questions, write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Sincerely, Active Citizen
Hello, Ivan Ivanovich!
You answered the questions of all polls of the first stage of the Vote All Summer event and now you can take part in the draw of invitations to the Second International Fireworks Festival Rostekh in Brateevsky Park.
On June 19, 430 winners will be randomly selected. Each of them will receive a notification by email.
Enter the code AGLETO1 in your profile on the ag.mos.ru website before July 18 and wait for the results.
In the second stage of the event new prizes will be drawn, so you should visit our website often and continue to vote. Contact email@example.com with any questions.
Sincerely, the Active Citizen team
The guide takes into account all channels of communication with the users: the website, the app and mailings. The rules explain how to adapt the new style for letters, mobile applications and posts in social networks.
Text on the page should concisely introduce the history of the project, its goals, aims and performance indicators. When preparing the content, concentrate users’ attention not on their personal gain, but rather on changes that will help make the city better.
An appendix to the guidelines that explains each rule in further detail was also created.
The document is designed for copywriters, editors, journalists, translators and content managers working on the project, but will also be helpful and interesting to any reader.