Last week I read a Twitter thread from Gerry McGovern. He’s a bit of a guru in designing digital experiences and is also passionate about the impact that ‘digital’ is having on the environment.
‘Organisation with 100 million visits a year finds that 5% of its content is getting over 80% of visits. Over 100,000 pages have not been reviewed in 10 years. We produce content. We do not manage it. 90% of content is crap. It was like this 25 years ago. It’s still the same.’
It made me think about the Scottish Enterprise website and whether we saw the same statistics. So, I asked our product owner David what our customers were looking at.
COVID-19. Collective sigh. If you’re not jaded by it all yet then your reserves of positivity surely know no bounds.
The winds of change that have blown across our world as a result of this surreal event are quite incredible. And many things will never be the same again.
Small town centres, previously peppered with empty shops, are bustling. Employers are embracing remote working like never before. Deserted city centre scenes, previously only featured in apocalyptic movies, have graced the evening news.
But some things haven’t changed.
Many organisations continue to create policy, advice, products and services in complete ignorance of how user behaviour in the modern age will define their effectiveness.
There’s been no more perfect example of this than the four corners of the UK all having different and, in many cases, contradictory rules and advice for citizens to follow during this pandemic.
Earlier on in the year, myself, and Derek Hawthorne from SDS connected on LinkedIn about a mutual interest in an article about making the web a greener place. Through further conversation we discovered that we are both working on Design Systems.
SDS are at the very early stage of creating a Design system while we are further on in our journey. Derek reached out to see if we could share what we are doing, so we set up a sharing session.
As part of the recent Green Jobs funding call, the project team asked if the service design team could help with level two system support. This meant helping with technical issues that customers were having if the enquiry team couldn’t resolve them.
I didn’t want to do it at first. I’m not really that technical, and I was afraid that I wouldn’t know how to help. Even though our service adoption team gave us training and a knowledge bank that we could use, I still didn’t feel confident on my first shift.
To my surprise, it was actually an interesting – and eye-opening – experience. Here’s what I learned:
Scottish Enterprise is changing. We are delivering services to customers and stakeholders in new ways, this gives us a fabulous opportunity but also presents some challenges.
As the team leader for the user centered design team at Scottish Enterprise I hear comments such as ‘What do you mean when you say service’, ‘We don’t really know what you do or who you are’ and also ‘But don’t you just build websites? Why do you care about all this other stuff that’s not digital?’
It prompted me to think what was causing this perception and how I felt four years ago when I joined the digital team at Scottish Enterprise. I was struck by how many people are involved and therefore how confusing it can be.
I started my career at Scottish Enterprise as a content designer. Actually, we were called ‘web content developers’ back then, before we really embraced the idea that there is more to content than just words on a web page. Then I joined the service design team as a service designer, and over the past few months, I’ve been doing a dual role as a service designer and user researcher.
The FindBusinessSupport.gov.scot (FBS) website had to adapt quickly when the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic hit to ensure that businesses could access up-to-date information about what they needed to do and what support they could get.
Because new funds were constantly being offered, and guidance kept changing as we moved in and out of lockdown, we just added new content when changes were announced by the Scottish Government. We never had time to step back and think about the complete customer journey, and the coronavirus advice page had become very long and complex.
The Scottish Government asked us to make it easier for businesses to access information about coronavirus funding and support on the FBS website, and they gave us two weeks to do it.
There is a campaign on Twitter this week (15th-19th February) #LetsGreenTheWeb to support and raise awareness of ClimateAction.tech. This prompted a discussion from a few of us here at Scottish Enterprise to look more closely at how we can reduce carbon emissions associated with our websites.
The title of this post is misleading. It implies that I’m going to provide you with tips on doing all these things well simultaneously. I’m not. It isn’t possible. What I am going to do is share how I have been balancing my job as a service designer with homeschooling my 5-year-old and chasing after my 2-year-old during this most recent lockdown.
Like many parents, I’ve been faced with an almost impossible task – do your job while also giving your children an education. If your working day is seven hours, and a school day is six hours, and a parenting day is around 12 hours, that’s 25 hours of work to fit within 24 hours. And that doesn’t include eating, sleeping, cooking, housework and this ‘self-care’ stuff that everyone is so big on these days.
In Scottish Enterprise, we can take up to 3 days per year to volunteer. A few of us on the Digital team have use this to contribute to various projects. Others in the team and across Scottish Enterprise are also volunteering on their own time.
This post is about me and my preferences in my working life.
This is the first blog I have ever written, so it’s kind of scary.
It’s been three and a half years since I moved career into ‘digital’. It’s kind of odd looking back at a career that spans research and development, process development, business development and now service design. Some things about who I am, and what I enjoy, hold true whatever organisation or with whichever team I have worked with.
Over two years ago we re-launched the Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Development International websites. We had six months to research, design, build and launch the sites. During the build we created a Global Design Language (GDL), a library of components within the CMS to use for future updates and builds.
We recently launched the new GlobalScot website, and I was scrolling through it when I noticed something odd. On some of the case studies and articles, the formatting was off. There were no spaces between paragraphs or styling on the sub-headers.
I had a chat with my content design colleague and one of our developers. Initially we thought there was a technical issue that was causing the content to display incorrectly, but then we found a few case studies without spacing issues. That’s when we realised it wasn’t a technical issue – it was a training one.
Thursday, May 21 2020, marks the ninth Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). The purpose of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access/inclusion and people with different disabilities.
The Digital team celebrated the day with a session opened to all the Scottish Enterprise staff.
To reach our audience, we need to do better to make sure everyone can access our posts on social media. We are planning to raise awareness within Scottish Enterprise of what needs to be done so that our communications are accessible.