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Government content strategy and user needs (#csapplied17)

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In 2012, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) reviewed users' experience of its guidance. They found it was often out of date, overlapping or unclear about what was required. Businesses reported that guidance was difficult and time-consuming to read and understand. 75% of businesses saw lack of clear information as a barrier to compliance.

Scroll's Padma Gillen was hired to lead a content team through a process of defining the needs of users, then designing content to meet those needs. In this presentation Padma will talk through the challenges and lessons learned.

Published in: Leadership & Management
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Government content strategy and user needs (#csapplied17)

  1. 1. PADMA GILLEN & EDWARD LOCKHART-MUMMERY GOVERNMENT CONTENT STRATEGY AND USER NEEDS
  2. 2. @ScrollUK Hello!
  3. 3. @ScrollUK First we’ll tell you the story, then talk through lessons learned.
  4. 4. @ScrollUK@ScrollUK A story about…1 The Smarter Guidance project
  5. 5. @ScrollUK The story starts in 1609 with the Devon and Cornwall Sea Sand Act
  6. 6. @ScrollUK 150 environment acts, 1200 regulations, and 100,000 pages of guidance later…
  7. 7. @ScrollUK No one knows what to do - and the environment is getting worse.
  8. 8. @ScrollUK Government red tape challenge trawls through every regulation.
  9. 9. @ScrollUK We suggest designing regulations around users:
 • 1 act instead of 150 • 1 process for transactions not 250 • 1 version of what you have to do
  10. 10. @ScrollUK Ministers decided that sorting the content was the first most important thing to do.
  11. 11. @ScrollUK 32 documents 6 organisations 340 pages Batteries waste (before Smarter Guidance)
  12. 12. @ScrollUK For Defra, this led to: • government costs of £20m to 30m p.a. • business costs of £200m+ p.a. • low awareness and understanding of the rules • fear and stress for small businesses • potential businesses deciding not to bother
  13. 13. @ScrollUK There was a strong business case for a content strategy based on user needs.
  14. 14. @ScrollUK We started with 120,000 pages. We reduced that by 80%.
  15. 15. @ScrollUK We achieved this by designing content around user needs.
  16. 16. @ScrollUK Smarter Guidance was about increasing the quality and reducing the quantity of Defra guidance.
  17. 17. @ScrollUK Before GOV.UK government content was like this:
  18. 18. @ScrollUK As a… I want to… So I can… A user story articulates a user need dog owner get a pet passport take my dog on holiday
  19. 19. @ScrollUK Use data to validate the user need
  20. 20. @ScrollUK Mapping content to user needs
  21. 21. @ScrollUK Before After 32 documents, 6 organisations, 340 pages. 1 guide for each of the 5 user groups. Each guide is 5 pages long.
  22. 22. @ScrollUK That was batteries waste. We did the same thing to 119 other topics.
  23. 23. @ScrollUK@ScrollUK Lessons learned2
  24. 24. @ScrollUK It’s easier to manage quality and instil the (counter)culture if you have a central content team. 1
  25. 25. @ScrollUK
  26. 26. @ScrollUK Make sure your content team can say no. Get your governance and proposition clear. 2
  27. 27. @ScrollUK Require a user story, acceptance criteria and source content before starting work on an item. 3
  28. 28. @ScrollUK Have a clear agile workflow and stick to it. 4
  29. 29. @ScrollUK
  30. 30. @ScrollUK From request to icebox Content designers ask: • is there a user need? • how do you know it's a user need? (any data?) • is it in proposition? • is it already met on GOV.UK? • is it already met elsewhere? • are there clear acceptance criteria? • is there clear source material to work from? (or an SME who can explain?) OK, we'll do something…
  31. 31. @ScrollUK From backlog to done Ideally this: • Backlog • Draft • 2i • Fact check • Fact check amends • 2i • Published
  32. 32. @ScrollUK
  33. 33. @ScrollUK Make sure people know why you’re messing with ‘their’ stuff. 5
  34. 34. @ScrollUK
  35. 35. @ScrollUK Know what you mean by ‘quality’ and know what your MVP is. 6
  36. 36. @ScrollUK What does quality mean? It’s quality content if it meets your needs as a user. That means: • you can find it • you can understand it • it’s factually accurate • it’s complete • it’s consistent with the rest of the site • you can act on it
  37. 37. @ScrollUK Sharpen the saw. 7
  38. 38. @ScrollUK You can make specialist content plain English if you try. 8
  39. 39. @ScrollUK
  40. 40. @ScrollUK Talk directly with the lawyers whenever you hear “the lawyers said it must say [insert gobbledygook here]” 9
  41. 41. @ScrollUK BAU will probably take longer to arrive than you think. Plan for a slow handover. 10
  42. 42. @ScrollUK Thank you!
  43. 43. Content design, content strategy and training in all aspects of digital content delivered at your office or our training suite. Find out more at: www.scroll.co.uk © Copyright 2017 Scroll LLP

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