Effective Friday, September 17, a province-wide mandatory masking order will be implemented for all indoor public spaces. 

Google Translate Disclaimer

A number of pages on the Government of Saskatchewan's website have been professionally translated in French. These translations are identified by a yellow box in the right or left rail that resembles the link below. The home page for French-language content on this site can be found at:

Renseignements en Français

Where an official translation is not available, Google™ Translate can be used. Google™ Translate is a free online language translation service that can translate text and web pages into different languages. Translations are made available to increase access to Government of Saskatchewan content for populations whose first language is not English.

Software-based translations do not approach the fluency of a native speaker or possess the skill of a professional translator. The translation should not be considered exact, and may include incorrect or offensive language. The Government of Saskatchewan does not warrant the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of any information translated by this system. Some files or items cannot be translated, including graphs, photos and other file formats such as portable document formats (PDFs).

Any person or entities that rely on information obtained from the system does so at his or her own risk. Government of Saskatchewan is not responsible for any damage or issues that may possibly result from using translated website content. If you have any questions about Google™ Translate, please visit: Google™ Translate FAQs.

Writing Well for Saskatchewan.ca

The purpose of Saskatchewan.ca is to provide visitors with the right information quickly – whether to research a topic, use an online service, find contact information or make an inquiry.

What content should go on Saskatchewan.ca?

Saskatchewan.ca is for services, information and advice that only government can provide.

Content can go on Saskatchewan.ca if it meets a clear user need and:

  • Is information or a service only provided by government.
  • Explains what people, businesses or professionals can do, need to do or need to know before they can do something.
  • Is, or relates directly to, something the government provides, does or pays for.
  • That is regulated by government.
  • Explains the purpose of a government organization.

It shouldn't go on Saskatchewan.ca if it is:

  • General advice.
  • Information that's already on Saskatchewan.ca.
  • Information or services reliably provided by non-government organizations.
  • Legislation, forms, reports, and documents that can be found on Publications Centre.

When you write for the web, give your audience only what they need to:

  • Be actionable: content should cover a need or task for your target audience.
  • Be strategic: content should cover a strategic goal for your group.
  • Be current: you should know how you're going to maintain your content, especially if it involves collaboration across groups.
  • Be web appropriate: content will be published if it's written and organized in such a way that makes the page more scannable and reader-friendly.

The voice and tone of Saskatchewan.ca is:

  • Authentic: warm, human, down-to-earth, inclusive.
  • Supportive: direct, helpful, instructional, easy-to-understand.
  • Friendly: open, family-oriented, diverse, reassuring.

Put content in context

Most users will find your online content through a search engine like Google or Yahoo. Write for these people who are searching for content.

This means your pages must be able to stand alone or, at the very least, link users back to relevant context setting information.

Before you begin writing, plan and review the keywords you will use in your content. Use the same words your target audience uses.

Know your audience

The Saskatchewan.ca audience is potentially anyone living in Saskatchewan who needs government information or people abroad who want to do business in or travel to our province.

Using common words and working with people's online reading behaviour helps us to communicate in a way that most people will understand.

When you write for the web, give your audience only what they need to:

  • find information;
  • solve their problem; or
  • complete a task.

Nothing more. Be sure to leave in enough to be clear.

Keep it short and simple

Good online content is easy to read and understand.

For Saskatchewan.ca:

  • Use short words (up to five letters) instead of longer words (longer than nine letters). It's easier to recognize and understand.
  • Use short sentences – aim for 20 words or less.
  • Use short paragraphs – aim for one to three sentences per paragraph.
  • Focus on facts. It makes it easier to stick to the main points and cut unnecessary information.

Use plain language

Research shows that educated people prefer plain English because it allows them to understand the information as quickly as possible.

For Saskatchewan.ca:

  • Use common words. It's easier to understand information when it's written in its simplest form.
  • Avoid using jargon, slang, business acronyms or abbreviations, and internal government terms. If you need to use technical terms, explain the meaning of the terms immediately after using them.
  • Write for a Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease score of 50.0 and above. In the Flesch Reading Ease test, higher scores indicate material that is easier to read; lower numbers mark passages that are more difficult to read.

  • Score Notes
    90.0–100.0 Easily understood by an average 11-year-old student
    60.0–70.0 Easily understood by 13- to 15-year-old students
    0.0–30.0 Best understood by university graduates

You can use the Readability feature in Microsoft Word or readability-score.com to score your writing.

Use action-oriented content

People go to Saskatchewan.ca to do something. Every sentence should be written to move them towards an end goal: a piece of information, an application, a solution, etc.

For Saskatchewan.ca:

  • Place the most important information at the beginning and taper down to lesser detail.
  • Write action(s) that you want your reader to take, e.g. find a marriage commissioner, contact us, etc.
  • Use active voice to make clear who is responsible.
    • In active voice, the subject performs the action expressed by the verb.
    • In passive voice, the subject receives the action expressed by the verb.

    • Passive: The patient was admitted by the nurse.
      Active: The nurse admitted the patient.

Write great titles and headings

Clear, concise titles and section headings help readers navigate both the text and the site as a whole. Search engines will often use the page title on their search results page. Headings may also be links to content.

For Saskatchewan.ca:

  • Keep titles to eight words or less (three to four is ideal). If you need to break up a long title, use a colon: it helps users to scan.
    • e.g. 'Health benefits appeal procedures: committee review' works better than 'Committee review of health benefits appeal procedures.'
  • Be clear and precise.
    • e.g. 'Manage Your Health Needs', not 'Health.'
    • Avoid puns or wordplay since these can make the content difficult to find.
  • Front-load your titles and headings with the most important keywords.
    • e.g. 'Health and safety regulations for the hospitality industry' and 'Health and safety regulations for the manufacturing industry' can be rewritten to 'Hospitality industry: health and safety regulations' and 'Manufacturing industry: health and safety regulations.'
    • It's more descriptive and useful for search.
  • Cut out as many adjectives and prepositions as possible (and, the, a, of).

Use lists

For Saskatchewan.ca:

  • Use bulleted or numbered lists to break up large blocks of text. It makes it easier for people to find the information they need quickly.
  • Make sure to keep your list items short; this helps your readers remember them. For long lists, create several smaller lists.
  • Use numbered lists only for instructions; it implies sequence and to complete the steps in the correct order.
  • Make sure that all the items in a list start with the same part of speech.

Write meaningful links

For Saskatchewan.ca:

  • Front-load your link text with the relevant terms and be explicit about what the link offers. Descriptive links often work better.
  • Use active words and phrases, but never use "click here"; people know to click links if it looks like a link.
  • Place links in the context that they should be in and not all at the end of a page. Avoid excessive use of links within prose and paragraphs.
  • Write links as:
    • Headlines and titles:
      • e.g. Designating a heritage property
    • Short sentences:
      • e.g. Find out more about the programs we offer
    • Action phrases with verbs:
      • e.g. Contact us, Sign in or Category labels – usually single nouns or short phrases

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