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About this guide

At 18F, we believe that good government content is the same as good content anywhere else: it is easy to understand, and it helps users do what they want to do.

The question we want to answer with this guide is: how do we get there?

We hope that by using this guide, you can learn how to make use of the best practices we’ve developed, incorporate user feedback into the editorial process, and build trust with your users.

If you work at 18F

We created this guide for reference on an as-needed basis. It’s here when you’re wondering whether to capitalize the word federal, for instance, or when you’re wondering how to create a friendly, informational tone.

To this end, we’ve structured the guide into descriptively named sections. Find the topic you’re looking for in our table of contents, or search by keyword. We aren’t opposed if you’d like to read this guide start to finish, of course.

If you work at another organization

As a work of the federal government, this project is in the public domain within the United States. Additionally, we waive copyright and related rights in the work worldwide through the CC0 1.0 Universal public domain dedication.

We encourage you to make a copy of this guide and adapt it to your organizational needs. This guide is just that: a guide. It’s not meant to provide the final opinion on any of the topics discussed. If a certain section isn’t relevant to you and your team, delete it. And if you feel the guide is missing a section, by all means, add it. This guide is yours to use, and we trust you’ll update it in the ways that best suit you.