Is good content service design? And how do you deliver it?

Thank you to everyone at IXDA Sydney — especially Joe and Lisa who were no sooner off the plane from the IXDA international conference in Milan, than they were hosting another event and sharing what they learned.

The Feb 20 IXDA gathering headline speaker was Mel Flanagan from Nook Studios who shared Nook’s case studies and approach. Check out Nook’s site for the government case studies outlined on the night.

Nook’s approach is content first, participatory, highly visual, and user-centred. The government case studies featured websites, brochures, and videos. Examples reimagined maps to overlay other information like policy data. Others included visual representations of process and legislation to show where people fit in. One such visualisation influenced the government department involved to create an extra step in their process for community consultation and outreach. This shows the power of reimagining and ‘evidencing’ experiences.

Here is what I took away and took notice of from the evening.

Reframing service design with content strategy

  • Services don’t work without content. Content is central to the experience
  • If you are not being content-first you are making transactions, not experiences
  • Get to know the policy, how the money flows, the time involved, the material flows – to then map and visualise a process that people can make sense of and use

“Content design is service design” Mel Flanagan, Nook Studios.

Content and information design is service design

  • Consider, what the user journey is and should be, and what the content experience should be to support it
  • What information do people need to know and understand across their journey? (Mel spoke of creating technical maps, story maps, and policy maps).
  • What decisions is the user informing?
  • Who do they need to go to? What are their rights?

“A lot of what we are doing is map making” Mel Flanagan, Nook Studios

Redesign the project

  • Gather data and content first
  • Have a content team from the start to avoid the ‘content crisis’ that occurs when project development and design streams progress too far without content. After all, what can you launch without content?
  • Rethink “discovery” phrase – include an explicit pre-design phase to understand objectives, audiences, stakeholders and importantly to also understand the context, data, and what content exists now
  • Include participation with stakeholders at every step
  • Optimise your workflow and design process to produce the digital experience with print artefacts

As always, be human-centred

  • Get to know your audience to give them what they need
  • Take a participatory approach with stakeholders
  • Test concepts with the target audience/end-users

 

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