On this blog we often talk about writing content based on solving people’s problems (their ‘user needs’), but what happens when it’s not clear who our users are?
That’s the issue we faced when writing our new content for Attendance Allowance.
Attendance Allowance is a benefit for disabled people aged 65 and over – it’s money they can spend however they like. For example they could spend it on getting help around the house, or on things like taxis so they can get out and about more.
An underclaimed benefit
Data from local Citizens Advice offices showed us that people didn’t even know what Attendance Allowance was, let alone how to claim it.
That’s hardly surprising – for years it’s been one of the most underclaimed benefits in the UK.
Clients came to advisers because they were in debt, or were struggling to look after themselves on their own. Some wanted to know how they could help elderly parents.
Hardly anyone asked about Attendance Allowance by name.
It soon became clear that we had 2 audiences to consider:
- the ‘silver surfers’ – older, digitally savvy people who want to know what help they’re entitled to
- people aged 35+ who want to get help for an elderly parent who’s struggling on their own
We also had to write for a 3rd audience – our advisers. They’re the experts who know instinctively that Attendance Allowance could solve some clients’ problems.
Using the right language
As well as people not knowing about Attendance Allowance, our research showed that a lot of people who are entitled to it have never claimed benefits before.
This meant we had to steer clear of using scary Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) language. For example, the rules say that to get the benefit a person has to be “so severely disabled physically or mentally” that they need help from someone else with their personal tasks.
We wanted to encourage people to claim so we used language like this instead: “You might get Attendance Allowance if you’re 65 or over and have a disability or illness that makes it hard for you to look after yourself.”
The number 1 user need
We’ve written content to help people with the claim form. This was the number 1 user need we discovered once we found our users.
As with most DWP benefit claim forms, the Attendance Allowance form is long – 31 pages – and needs to be completed in a certain way. We’ve done a lot of work and research on this for other benefits, for example PIP and ESA, and we know it’s a huge barrier for people claiming benefits.
Our content has tips on what to write on the form and some example answers as well as information on what the DWP is looking for.
So far, the content has tested really well with both the public and advisers. We hope it helps more people get the money they’re entitled to so that they can live independently in their own homes for longer.