Q:

Should I take time to format my answer (on the Senate platform)?

Senate Support

Senate Support
Senate
30 Jun 2022
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A: SenseCheck

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  • 30 Jun 2022
  • Yes

    Simple

    Very definitely yes! I am responsible for the UX on the Senate platform so I talk to users all the time about their experience on the site. This is a question I am asked often: 'why should I format my answer, aren't my carefully thought-out words enough?

    The quick answer 

    It helps the reader pick up the nuance of your carefully crafted answer more quickly. 

    The long answer

    Using formatting you are 'articulating' your text, which simply means you are indicating to the reader the order of priority in which the content is given. This is seen when headings are given in Bold. Using bold within a sentence gives emphasis to a word or phrase, helping a reader, skim the material and find what they are looking for more easily. And of course, using italics for quotes or citations, again helps the reader, pick out the the information they need in a block of text.

    Bullet points

    Ordering your thoughts in bullet points is another way to help the reader.

    • Bullets break up a block of text making it more digestible.
    • Summarise the points you are making
    • Distills your points making it easier for the reader to remember them

    Answers on the Senate are given so users can navigate their way through legislation and other professional rules. Taking a little more time over your answer by considering the formatting and layout will be substantially appreciated by the many hundreds of users who benefit from your wise words. 

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