Titles, sub-headings and page structure

Titles should be in sentence case (capitalise the first letter only). 

Caring for someone

X Caring For Someone

They should never be underlined. Underlining should only be used on clickable links. 

Page titles should:

  • be 65 characters or less
  • be unique, clear and informative
  • be front-loaded and optimised for search
  • use a colon to break up longer titles
  • not contain dashes or slashes
  • not have a full stop at the end
  • not use acronyms unless they are well-known, like EU

Titles on MindWell must be descriptive so that users know which page they are on. Duplicate titles can confuse users. A title should make sense by itself, for example, ‘8 tips to cope with stress’ has more context than just ‘8 tips’. They also need to have keywords that show up in search results.

We break up content with descriptive sub-headings. Sub-headings should be front-loaded and active. The text should still make sense without the sub-headings. Paragraphs should have no more than 5 sentences and include keywords to boost search rankings.

It is important to always use heading levels. Screen readers move around pages using headings so missing one can be confusing. Screen readers can not recognise a header highlighted with just bold.

Capital letters

A tendency towards lower case is more friendly and less formal. It also makes content quicker and easier to read. Generally, we use lower case wherever possible.

X Third Sector organisation

third sector organisation

However, proper nouns (for example, names of organisations, people, services and buildings) should be in uppercase, for example, Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. Other exceptions are listed in the GOV.UK style guide capitalisation list

We do not write words or phrases in capital letters as this makes content more difficult to read.

Headings should use sentence case (only capitalise the first letter of the first word – like you would in a sentence).


We avoid using dashes to indicate a pause too often as they can cause problems for screen readers. We use commas or write shorter sentences instead.

We use ‘to’ instead of dashes in ranges of time, date and numbers.

4.30pm to 7.30pm

Monday to Friday

X 4.30-7.30pm

X Monday-Friday


We always write the date in this format: 

19 March 2016

Wednesday 19 March 2016

Do not write dates in any other format such as: 

X 19th March 2016, March 19 2016, 14/02/2016 or 02/14/16


We use numerals including 1 to 9. People find numerals easier to read and they scan for them.

1 support group

5 support groups

10 support groups

For numbers over 999, use a comma for clarity, for example, 2,000.

For numbers less than 1, use 0 before the decimal point, for example, 0.45.

It’s ok to use numbers at the start of a sentence (as long as it’s not confusing), in lists and in headings.

5 new dementia support groups to be set up in Leeds

8 tips for winter wellbeing 

For sums of money and units of measurement always use numerals.

£5.50, 3%, 6 metres, 9.8 kilograms, 2 tonnes

However, we do spell out ‘one’ when it means ‘a’ or to avoid repeating a word.

There are 3 different peer support groups. You can decide which is the best one for you.

We use ‘one’ in phrases like where numerals would look strange: 

one or the other

one of the most popular 

one at a time

one or two of them

We spell out common fractions like one-half and use a % sign for percentages: 50%.

Ordinal numbers (1st, 2nd, 3rd and so on)

We use numerals with letter suffixes for ordinal numbers (including 1st and 2nd) when we are talking about dates, quantities and things in a list or sequence. This makes content easier to scan.

We do not use ordinal numbers in phrases like:

X first aid

X first time

X first visit 

X secondhand smoke

X second opinion


We link dates and periods of times with the linking word ‘to’ rather than use dashes as this works better on screen readers.

We always write the time in this format: 

✔ 7am to 6.30pm or 8am to 10.30am

Do not write times in any other format such as: 

X 7.00-18.30

X 8:00hrs to 16:30hrs 

X 6-6.30pm

Show periods of time as: 

19 to 21 March

X 19 March-21 April

Years should be written in this format: 

2016 to 2017


Telephone numbers and email addresses

We present contact information in the following format.

Call 0800 657 767

Helpline open: Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.30pm

Email: info@helpadvice.org.uk

We write descriptive links to webchat and email:

Talk by webchat

Get help by email

We do not use the abbreviations “tel” and “mob” as they can cause problems for screen readers.

We add a space between city and local exchange in telephone numbers: 0800 657 767.


We avoid hyphens unless they make the meaning of a sentence clearer.

up-to-date resources

part-time course


X a three-year-old child 

X breast-feeding

Do not use hyphens if the compound involves a word ending in ‘-ly’, for example, ‘rapidly expanding’ has no hyphen.

Do not use hyphens in the following common words: 

✔ online, email, website, wellbeing


Italics should be used with discretion. Using italics to highlight blocks of text can make content difficult to read. 

We do use italics for the names of publications.


We use bold sparingly. It can make it difficult for the site user to know which parts of the content to focus on.

It can be used for technical instructions but we generally avoid using it for emphasis. To create emphasis we:

  • front-load sentences
  • use headings
  • use bullet points

Quotation marks

We generally use double quotes:

  • when quoting another source or person
  • for a partial quote
  • for unusual or colloquial terms 

People attending a mental health awareness course said the experience was “extremely helpful”.

John said: “I was apprehensive about attending a stress management course but it has changed the way I think and feel.” 

If the end of the quote falls at the end of a sentence, the full stop or comma should come before the closing quote, as in the example above. 

We use single quotes for:

  • quotes within quotes
  • headlines
  • captions
  • large-type quotes


A contraction is a word made by shortening and combining two words. For example, “we will” is often shortened to “we’ll”.

Often contractions make content friendlier and easier to read. We use contractions like it’s, you’ll, we’ll, you’re and what’s. 

We do not use negative contractions like “can’t” and “don’t”. When we’re telling users not to do something we use “Can not” and “Do not”. Negative contractions can be hard to read.

We also avoid “should’ve”, “could’ve”, “would’ve” and “they’ve”. These can also be hard to read.

We do not use contractions in URLs (web addresses) as they can be unclear and hard to type and share. 

If we can, we also avoid using contractions in page titles. 

Full stops 

We do not use full stops in headings, buttons and action links.


We make links that are active, specific and concise.

Links should clearly describe where we are taking the user. Where possible, we use some of the same words as the title of the page we’re linking to so the user knows what to expect.

We do not use link text such as “click here” or wording that would not make sense when read out of context. Screen readers can move between links without reading the surrounding text. 

X signs

signs of stress

X find out more

find support in Leeds