10 things that staff consistently tell us

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  • When we do user research with businesses about our Services, we also talk to our staff that are delivering them.
  • Just like customers, we often hear the same things from staff, over and over again, regardless of which design, platform or web page we’re testing.
  • These issues are not aimed upwards at management, but represent the lived reality of everyone in the organisation, and are there for all of us to fix

Here is what they tell us:

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The places and people we remember

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What do we take from those we have worked for, and with? What do we take from each role we do into the next?

I’ve blogged before about my career journey. The best of times has been when I’ve worked for someone who has understood me as a whole person and believed in me. Here’s some thoughts about my journey over 35 years

An image of my tricolour border collie called Angus lying in some bluebells
My whole me now includes Angus. Here he is in the bluebells
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The silver bullet

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Anyone who’s worked on iterative design projects – sometimes called ‘agile’ projects, although that term itself often hinders understanding, rather than helping it – will know that reflection is a key part of the journey. We’ve been doing a lot of reflection lately, and it’s prompted me to reflect on what digital transformation is – or perhaps more importantly, what it isn’t.

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About Ruth McArthur

I'm a service designer with a background in content design, web development and graphic design. My career began in the last century, when words were written on paper and publications printed with bits of metal. The world moves on.

User experience begins long before someone reaches your website

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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.

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How many people does it take to design and build a service?

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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.

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How we improved the exporting user journey on the Scottish Enterprise website

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We recently redesigned the exports and international markets section of the Scottish Enterprise website. 

Our goals

  • Raise awareness of our exporting expertise and support – in order to help more businesses, we needed them to be aware of what support they can access through us
  • Create content that is relevant and useful to exporters and potential exporters – we wanted to ensure that content on our website was meeting user needs
  • Get more enquiries for exporting services and events – we wanted to get more people asking us about the services and events that we offer
  • Help users self-serve – we wanted to help people self-serve where possible, or signpost them to other help and support, at the right point in the customer journey
  • Get more users taking advantage of market opportunities – we wanted to help businesses understand what opportunities exist in overseas markets and how they can access them
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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.

From service designer to user researcher

Reading Time: 3 minutes

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.  

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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.

How capabilities mapping helped us see the bigger picture

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The problem

We have a transformation programme underway across Scottish Enterprise. It was getting harder to see what needed to be done to deliver the bigger picture – rather than just bits of the jigsaw. In addition, many people were focusing solely on ‘the bit you need to build’, rather than seeing the whole service – end to end, online and offline.

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How to deliver agile projects to a deadline

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You can’t.

Agile projects deliver when they cross a quality threshold.

If you hit a deadline, or met a budget, without crossing that threshold, you weren’t agile.

It’s that simple.

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.

How we made it easier for businesses to find coronavirus funding

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The problem

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 challenge

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.

screenshots of heat maps for the desktop and mobile version of the coronavirus advice page
Heat maps are one of the tools we use to research how people use our website
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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.

How to be a designer, teacher and parent at the same time

Reading Time: 3 minutes
A woman wearing a black dress with a white collar and burgundy tights sitting on a green and blue tartan carpet. She is leaning against a wall and has a laptop on her lap. She is also wearing a headset.
Me working in the hallway while my husband works in the office and my kids run around the living room

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.

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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.

Working with the Service Design team

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illustration with two women collaborating, one sitting in front of a laptop and another one standing moving sticky notes

Why am I writing this?

I want to highlight the great teamwork I’ve experienced working with the Service Design team, but also to highlight challenges we are trying to overcome.

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About Sheryl Crombie

I am a Project Manager in the Business Support Partnership, with a background in Information Management and an interest in all things technical.

Getting an economic development agency to act like a service provider

Reading Time: 3 minutes
screenshot of the header of the Scottish Enterprise website with the statement mentioned in the text below

What does Scottish Enterprise do?

According to our website, “Scottish Enterprise is Scotland’s national economic development agency. We’re committed to growing the Scottish economy for the benefit of all, helping create more quality jobs and a brighter future for every region.”

And how do we do that?

By providing services.

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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.