Content day at UX London

It was great to get a chance to attend day two of the UX London 2022 Conference. There were some fantastic talks about creating content through good design and collaboration. Here is an overview.

Designing good services

Lou Down talked about designing good services.

Any task that someone is trying to achieve is a service. Lou mentioned thinking of good services as ‘verbs’ – a call to action.

Most services were not designed for the internet, you went into a front-line office or physical location. You would talk to someone in a reception office. Google has replaced that starting point. She mentioned the challenges this can pose (#googlefail).

Sometimes an organisation doesn’t know they are providing services until something breaks. Users may find ways to work around things that the organisation is unaware of.

She presented her Good Service Scale based on 15 Principles of Good Service Design.

At Kent, it’s a reminder that our users should define what the service is. Services should be inclusive and easy to find, understand and complete. They shouldn’t be filtered through a service that fits an internal business process.

Designing unique solutions

Chris How gave an inspiring talk about unexpectedly obvious design solutions.

Some of the most simple and elegant solutions to design problems may seem obvious. However brilliant design solutions are achieved by working through a creative process.

Finding those hidden gems that make a delightful solution involves tackling the root problem and not jumping into a solution.

He reminded us to take time and space to explore and play with an issue to thoroughly understand it. Good design favours quality over quantity and delight rather than just delivery.

An interesting example he mentioned was the design solution for protecting cows from Lions in Botswana by painting eyes on their backs.

Supporting each other’s skillsets

Heldiney Pereira talked about the interplay between product and content designers.

UX involves a range of skills bridging content and product design. He reminded us that it’s unrealistic to do it all. It’s not possible to know everything and that’s fine.

You should make the most impact with the ‘shape’ you have. Collaborating with teams from the onset leads to the best delivery for both product and content designers. This allows you to ‘embrace the blur’ between your skills and those of others. You should measure success by the impact and changes you collectively make.

We’re currently working on a new course page design. This talk was a good reminder that having a strong collaboration across the design, development and marketing teams from the onset is crucial.

Writing clearly

Sophie Koonin gave a talk on clear writing for product development.

She mentioned some great tips:

  • write in a way that you’d talk to someone to create an approachable tone of voice
  • avoid passive voice, this helps you to be direct, build trust and avoid ambiguity
  • avoid idioms and colloquialisms, they can create barriers if English isn’t your first language
  • keep content short, people are impatient and want value now

She also recommended creating tone of voice guidelines like the one she uses at Monzo.

As Kent goes through a rebranding exercise, a guideline like this would help us understand how we should present our personality in the way we write our content.

Working well together

Candi Williams gave a talk on how to win stakeholders and influence processes.

She challenged us to listen, understand and partner with our stakeholders. To not preach, but put people first.

Our roles should be ones of facilitators, bringing people together. We should lose our “telling and yelling” and bolster up the people component of content strategy.

A good content journey comes from prioritising people and being respectful. Listen to what your stakeholders are trying to achieve and then help them provide a meaningful service for their end users.

Mapping journeys and accessible content

In the afternoon Sarah Winters gave a workshop on content design and accessible content.

Through a journey mapping exercise, we broke down the finding, doing and getting that a user goes through in a task. This helped us understand the triggers, emotions, needs and challenges a user experiences when interacting with a service.

Journey mapping creates organisational alignment through shared empathy and understanding of pain points a customer may experience. This starts you off with a strong framework to design for user context and identify opportunities.

She also discussed how to open up your content by making it accessible. A bit of thought and some simple techniques can help you to improve the accessibility of your content.

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