Channelling my inner country bumpkin I headed to the big city for 2 days of learning on the Content Design workshop developed by content guru, Sarah Richards.
There’s a caveat here – I’ve been working with Sarah for the last year on business development, and we’ve also known each other for, ahem, 25 years after studying advertising together at Falmouth College of Arts.
Being more involved in the work Sarah is doing, I wanted to update my skills and see if the MPAD approach to content was right.
Our content development process is pretty much spot-on
Over the last 3 years we’ve developed our processes to make content an integral part of web development. We’ve refined our processes around UX (user experience) and aimed to bring content into the mix right at the start (well, after the initial UX / discovery phase).
It means that you can really define what users want and create relevant information, while creating a site where the content and design work together to give users a much better experience, reduce barriers and help customers engage much better with you.
We’ve done our fair share of sites over the last 20 years where the client has decided that they would sort the content out at the last minute when the site was ready to go live. This has led to using designing sites with spaces for 50 words, only to find the client has bunged in 600 words of ‘me, me, me!’ text, and then complained that the design looks rubbish.
Well, those days are over!
User needs are key
When someone comes to your site they are generally looking to perform a task, make a transaction or solve a problem.
They are unable to do this if the content is all ‘me, me, me!’.
Over the last 3 years we’ve been lucky enough to work with some amazing clients who have seen the value in a user-first approach to developing content.
If you’re able to answer the users pain points, then you increases the chances of engagement, and we’re gathering the stats to prove this.
Research and data always need to be involved
I’m proud that MPAD has taken on the UX mantel in Cornwall. Working alongside UX designer, Mike Reed, SEO expert, Jamie Turnbull, and designer, Dave Brayford, we’ve been researching and gathering data in order to create better solutions for our clients.
Data, research and user testing have formed the backbone of our work. This includes improving the booking systems of a leading restaurant, making it easier for people to sign up to charity events, reviewing the whole work process of a charity, helping to redefine a company’s service offering and helping a care organisation to recruit more nursing staff.
It’s vital to get this information in place right at the start of the project (as well as ongoing once the project is live), as it means that you can make much better decisions about what does / does not need to be included.
It’s important to continue your development and learning
I feel energised after the 2 days. I pretty much outlined the restructured MPAD website, as well as drafted content for key landing pages.
While I was happy with the processes that we’ve developed, I really want to test myself and see if there is anything that I could do better.
And there is – user journeys, user needs, job stories, data research – there’s lots of stuff that I can use to improve our offering.
I love Sharpies and Post-It Notes
Spending 2 days writing down notes on Post-It Notes using a Sharpie has been good fun. I even managed to get a bit of my favourite process mapping in, although I did refrain from drawing up flowcharts!
I like the way you can quickly write down ideas, move them around on the proper and them replace them easily if its not quite right.
It was an awesome 2 days and I feel inspired to deliver better content for our clients, as well as MPAD. I’ve already got in mind changes that will benefit client projects, so I’m keen to get moving on these!