The exporting experience: one year on

Reading Time: 5 minutes

At the end of March this year, my colleague Katie wrote a post about some work she had been involved with to improve the exporting user journey on scottish-enterprise.com.

She included some analytics data that seemed to indicate some significant improvements. But she only had 3 months’ worth of data, which makes it hard to draw any firm conclusions.

So we thought now, with a year’s worth of data, would be a good time to look back on what’s changed, what worked, and any opportunities for further improvement.

Continue reading “The exporting experience: one year on”

About David O'Brien

I'm a service designer in Scottish Enterprise's unsurprisingly-named service design team. I've been involved in the web for over 20 years, one way or another.

Writing for people, not businesses

Reading Time: 4 minutes

As an enterprise agency, our role is to support economic development, and this includes offering support and information to businesses in Scotland. This sometimes results in the misconception that our users are simply ‘businesses’.

But that’s not strictly the case. Even though our services are aimed at businesses, it’s still individual people that read our content, navigate application forms or contact our experts. They could be business owners, CEOs, accountants, finance directors, department heads, or any other individual within an organisation. And, being real people, there are a whole range of different needs and situations we need to consider when writing for them.

Continue reading “Writing for people, not businesses”

What businesses think about Fair Work and Net Zero

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The way that we support businesses is changing. As part of these changes, we’re putting a bigger emphasis on ensuring that the companies that we support meet, or are working towards, Fair Work and Net Zero principles.  

What are Fair Work and Net Zero? 

Fair Work logo

Fair Work

Fair work is work that offers all individuals an effective voice, opportunity, security, fulfilment and respect: 

  • Effective voice: employers create a safe environment where dialogue and challenges are dealt with constructively, and where employee views are sought out, listened to and can make a difference 
  • Opportunity: fair opportunity allows people to access and progress in work and employment 
  • Security: people have reasonable security and stability of employment, income and work 
  • Fulfilment: people have access to fulfilling work 
  • Respect: people are treated respectfully, whatever their role and status 

Businesses that commit to Fair Work must sign up to these principles: 

  • Appropriate channels for effective voice and employee engagement, such as trade union recognition 
  • Investment in workforce development 
  • Actions to tackle the gender pay gap and create a more diverse and inclusive workplace 
  • No inappropriate use of zero-hours contracts 
  • Paying the Real Living Wage (currently £9.50 in Scotland) 
Continue reading “What businesses think about Fair Work and Net Zero”

About Katie Dickerson

I'm a service designer with a background in content design and a passion for taking hard things and making them simple.

Why you shouldn’t make assumptions about content

Reading Time: 3 minutes

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.

Article called 'New platform to support women-led start-ups' with no spaces in between the paragraphs

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.

Continue reading “Why you shouldn’t make assumptions about content”

About Katie Dickerson

I'm a service designer with a background in content design and a passion for taking hard things and making them simple.

Designing for mobile first

Reading Time: 3 minutesWe recently released a Beta version of our export health check diagnostic.

It’s a simple thing that asks you 7 questions with yes or no answers. You can run through it in 2 minutes.

We know this, because we tested it through a rapid series of iterations. We made a prototype, put it out for testing and changed it the next day based on what we had learned the night before.

In the space of a week we had something we knew worked well, that people could use comfortably and delivered something of real value.

Export health check
Export health check (desktop version)

Continue reading “Designing for mobile first”

About David O'Brien

I'm a service designer in Scottish Enterprise's unsurprisingly-named service design team. I've been involved in the web for over 20 years, one way or another.

It’s your first date. Behave …

Reading Time: 5 minutesWe’ve been experimenting with mood maps to record customers’ emotions while they use the prototypes we test with them. The results are revealing …

Mood maps are pretty simple graphs of emotion over time. You just observe someone interacting with the app or content you are developing and plot how positive or negative their emotions are for the duration of the test.

But they allow you to tell a story.

Here’s what a mood map looks like.

Mood map
So, how was it for you?

Continue reading “It’s your first date. Behave …”

About David O'Brien

I'm a service designer in Scottish Enterprise's unsurprisingly-named service design team. I've been involved in the web for over 20 years, one way or another.

Rethinking content creation

Reading Time: 2 minutesOne of our challenges, in the Digital Content & Channels team, is how we can plan and resource the creation of content on our websites and digital channels more effectively. And we’ve tried a number of different methods, but we haven’t solved the main issue for the content team, which is that of workload and satisfying demand.

So, on Friday we spent some time with David and Martin looking at the flow concept that the Digital First team have been working on. One powerful illustration was that of repairing a motorway – you can either employ one roadwork company who will repair a stretch of motorway at a time, and then move onto the next stretch and so on. During that time there will be an effect on traffic, and everyone will get very irritated because it’s taking so long. OR you can employ several roadworks companies who can each repair a section at the same time. There will still be an effect on traffic but it will be for a much shorter time, and will cost the same amount of money.

Because you’ve achieved your road repair in a shorter time, you’ve then got time to do more repairs, presuming that you’ve got the resource to do it.

If we use the same approach: prioritise our content creation, and put the optimum number of writers onto each task until it’s completed, then we should be able to create more (and better) content in a shorter time frame. We’ll be able to put resources (people!) where they’ll make the most difference, and by doing so achieve better impact – as well as possibly covering more areas.

So we’re going to have a go at it, from the beginning of January. I don’t know if it will work, but in the spirit of Digital First we’ll have a jolly good try.

Faking it

Reading Time: 3 minutesThis week, I did something I thought I’d never do: I deceived our users. Our visitors.

Our customers.

That’s pretty much a sacking offence, so maybe I should explain.

As part of the digital first team, we’re looking for ways to get user feedback. After all, how will we know if customers think our products and services are valuable unless we ask them?

We can’t always do that face to face. Is there another way?

Continue reading “Faking it”

About David O'Brien

I'm a service designer in Scottish Enterprise's unsurprisingly-named service design team. I've been involved in the web for over 20 years, one way or another.

Our first live event: the facts and figures

Reading Time: 8 minutesOn 22 and 23 July, we set up a live stream from the Commonwealth Games Business Conference.

As well as the YouTube video stream, we used every channel at our disposal – twitter, LikedIn, Google+, our websites – to stimulate the debate.

Scottish Enterprise CEO Lena Wilson talking at the Commonwealth Games Business Conference
Scottish Enterprise CEO Lena Wilson talking at the Commonwealth Games Business Conference

It was a huge effort for a small team. Three of us – including Erica Goodey, who led on this project -were at the event. I was backup and tech support, though thankfully I was not needed for that. Everything went smoothly. Others back at the office pitched in too, publishing updates live on our sites.

So, roughly half our entire available resource tied up for two days.

And there have been months of planning, preparation and practice leading up to these two days.

In all, we estimate our total effort involved in these two days is 124 hours: equivalent to one person working on nothing else for nearly a month. And we’re not even half-way done yet. Much of our planning is around what we do with the material we’ve gathered now the event itself is past.

You can see how the two days were received on our storify.

This was a first for my team, and for Scottish Enterprise/SDI too. We have been a publisher for years, but this was the first time we have been a live broadcaster.

So, how did it go?

Continue reading “Our first live event: the facts and figures”

About David O'Brien

I'm a service designer in Scottish Enterprise's unsurprisingly-named service design team. I've been involved in the web for over 20 years, one way or another.

The Knowledge Library

Reading Time: < 1 minuteSomething struck me on the flight to Belgium this week about the Knowledge Hub we have created on our sites. It’s not a hub (a rubbish word), it’s a library. The Knowledge Hub should be a place where customers constantly surface useful, relevant content.

Scott Monty’s article illustrates what we have in common with the New York Times. SE has access to many years worth of customer insight and business experience. We should be tapping in to this. This can be our core content.

It doesn’t always have to be new, it can be something an investor learned five years ago that is still just as relevant today.

We need to find a better way to surface industry content. Particularly on SDI. The current entry panel to the R&I section is fine, but when an article is closed the relevant industry filter needs to be automatically applied. We can still make it obvious to the customer that this setting can be changed.

Content relationships have to get better. Reading an article should surface information on the company and the supply chain. Location maps, video content, the project visualiser – all of this content has to link in a much more intuitive way. DMS will help.

When a customer searches for an event like MWS they should get a very rich experience.

The NYT report highlights the importance of understanding and exploiting the many different ways an audience finds and accesses content. We’ve done a lot of work towards understanding this, we just need to improve how we do it. I recommend reading the article and the original report.

About Rob Catterson

I'm an obsessive compulsive who thinks about content marketing far too much for my own good. Well someone has to.

Design content first … who would have thought of that?

Reading Time: 5 minutesIn November 2007, when I was part of what was then the SE web team, we were asked if we could take on a project.

The objective was to completely re-design and rewrite the SE website. Some of you may remember what it looked like back then. Including an incredible floating woman. Stock photography. It’s why we banned it.

The Scottish Enterprise website in 2008
Way back when …

Oh. And it had to be ready by 1 April 2008. SE would have a new remit by then. Would that be OK?

Continue reading “Design content first … who would have thought of that?”

About David O'Brien

I'm a service designer in Scottish Enterprise's unsurprisingly-named service design team. I've been involved in the web for over 20 years, one way or another.