Plan Structure: Ideas for Usability

Having a plan structure that mirrors what people are intuitively looking for, and matches the writing and drafting conventions familiar to readers, goes some way to making that plan useable. A number of other practical measures that can be undertaken to assist in making plans more user-friendly:

  • a detailed table of contents (front of plan) and keywords index (back of plan)
  • an overview of the structure of the plan (front of plan). This should explain to the reader where different types of provisions are to be found, and could also explain the need to look at both general (district or region-wide provisions) and area-specific provisions
  • users guides to the plan (these may sit outside the plan itself)
  • glossary of terms or definitions (all in the one place, either at the front or back of the plan so that they are easy to find)
  • a clear, distinct numbering system that easily distinguishes between issues, objectives, policies and rules (no bulleted lists)

  • cross-referencing (rules to policies, policies to objectives, and between related provisions).

  • clear illustrations, diagrams that explain rules, and tables (eg, activity status tables)

  • clear, detailed maps and aerial photographs

  • references to documents and strategies used outside the plan that contain or implement methods, other than rules in the plan, to manage issues or achieve plan objectives.