Portfolio project

Universal Credit – DWP

The Department for Work and Pensions hired me as Content Designer for its flagship Universal Credit social security programme. I was responsible for all online content, peer reviewing content by other Content Designers across all channels. Other channels included call centre scripts, emails, correspondence and text messages.

Universal Credit combines and simplifies six key benefits and tax credits.

I worked daily with up to 40 policy and legal experts. Most days, we debated a single question on its relevance to policy and operational needs. I advised on plain English, unambiguous phrasing. I often took part in user research, acceptance testing and stakeholder liaison.

GDS was in its infancy when Universal Credit started. It lacked guidance and design standards for online application forms. I pioneered those guidelines and standards with GDS, based on research and testing.

This was a very complex digital project. I helped to create a long-term service design and content strategy. This included an authoritative tone of voice guide. I developed style guides and training materials to ensure consistency across the department.

The result was a reduction of 70% of the data required to apply for Housing Benefits, for example. The remaining questions were in plain English, easy to understand even for applicants who don’t have English as their first language (yes, ironically English is not my first language either).


    Adrie van der Luijt

    Bankside Communications | Freelance content designer and strategist


    107 Bankside Lofts
    65 Hopton Street
    SE1 9JL


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