Department for Education

I helped design the ‘Apprenticeships Service’ to meet the Government’s policy goal of starting 3 million new apprenticeships by 2020.

My role: Content Designer
My goal: Design a way to onboard new users and orient them around a new product with multiple transactional features

I designed a ‘Welcome’ feature, in collaboration with the lead UX designer, to on-board new users and guide them through an initial set of tasks. I gave context as to why each task should be done and gave short instinctive options to undo or skip tasks.

I tested content in weekly research sessions and found that terse questions with yes/no answers lead to the fastest completion times - which was preferable for our busy professional user demographic. Based on this, I created a series of short questions that followed a consistent format to create a sense of rhythm and momentum to the on-boarding journey.

In order to orient users around this complex site with multiple transactional features I created a ‘Next steps’ feature for the end of each transaction. This offered users the most likely next steps they might want to take.

To identify these next steps, I worked with our User researcher to create and send out a browser-based card sorting exercise to 200 users to find out their individual responsibilities and their critical goals when using the site.

Department for Education

I worked on the ‘Apprenticeship Service’ making sure increased functionality remained intuitive as we took it from Alpha, through Beta, to Live.

My role: Content Designer
My goal: Design a system for large and complex groups of users to collectively use one product

I created a system of alerts and messages that different sets of users would see depending on their level of authority. I created a formulaic and consistent syntax in all messages so users could quickly identify which information to pay attention to, and which bits they could ignore.

Almost all the terminology in these alerts and activity feeds came directly from users. I sat in 18 research sessions meaning I was able to directly hear the vernacular language our users were using for all the technical functionality of the site.

I reduced choice paralysis within the site by only showing a maximum of 4 ‘Alerts’ at a time - most people’s working memory is around 4 pieces of information. I used an even number of options because an odd number of options tends to create a bias towards the 'middle' option of the list.

I created an email notification system that alerted users to new activity on the site. I condensed this information into a daily email ‘digest’ that users could unsubscribe from if they wanted. 

Ministry of Justice

I was brought in as a consultant UX Writer to appraise the ‘Submit an appeal’ service for people appealing against their social benefits being reduced.

My role: UX Writer
My goal: Tackle the complexity and ambiguity of legal processes and give vulnerable users confidence

To prevent users from feeling ‘lost’ in this complex legal appeal process, I redesigned the navigation structure to allow users to go back to their previous step on every page. I then relabelled this feature “Previous page” instead of “Back” to make sure users knew which page they were going back to.

To assist users with impaired vision, I implemented aria tags and made sure the code was structured so that language could be read using screen readers as naturally as it could be read using the visual interface.

I created confirmation banners to give users reassurance and confidence, and to feedback the information they need only when they need it. Eg, rather than say “Your appeal has been submitted”, I said “You’ve submitted your appeal - we’ve sent you an email confirmation”. Also onto the confirmation page, I put links to the most often-visited FAQ answers from elsewhere on the site to give this need-to-know information just when users need it.

I used active language across SMS, email and interface content to make sure users could understand what they were expected to do, and what the ministry would do for them. Eg, rather than say “All evidence should be received by 27 Aug 2017,” I made it more precise by saying “You need to send us your evidence to arrive by 27 Aug 2017.” I also removed many references to ‘them’ or ‘their’ and tightened it up to say ‘your representative’ or ‘your lawyer’ etc.  

Skills Funding Agency

I created a content microsite for the agency - a go-to guide for language conventions, style and tone, and behavioural science.

My role: Lead UX Writer
My goal: Enable knowledge exchange across the agency’s content designers and build public sector skills and capacity

I created the ESFA content design microsite by running workshops and pooling the agency’s Content, UX, and Behavioural science knowledge - I then built the site using GitHub. The site is used to on-board new starters, encourage consistency across the agency's services, and show the thought that goes into content design and the value it adds to the agency.

I wrote blog posts for the ESFA Digital blog, which helped shed light on the value the digital transformation was having on the agency's operational success.

I educated policy and operational civil servants about user centered design via “show and tell” presentations. I would explain the research and thought processes that informed the language structure and choices involved in creating truly user centered services.

Each sprint, I presented new design work that I’d done to the rest of our scrum team. As well as being a chance for people to interrogate my thinking, it was also a way of educating people in other specialisms about the thought and processes that go into content design.

Among the content designers, I set up a group email distribution list through which we shared content design related videos, blog posts, and the latest thinking and conventions within interface content design.

As a content ‘clan’ we collectively mentored 2 civil servants that were new to content design. We gave constructive feedback and advice. Sometimes we were just a shoulder to cry on! This was part of the capacity building that we provided the agency on a daily basis.  

Skills Funding Agency

I was the Content Designer on the ‘Access my levy’ service.

My role: Content Designer
My goal: Create an intuitive online banking system designed to give confidence and reassurance to users, and encourage behaviour change 

I tried to make the interface as intuitive as possible by researching online banking apps from major retail banks and modeled my language on established norms.

I kept language to an absolute minimum to make sure the financial data itself was the main focus.

I reduced the cognitive load on users by chunking financial information into a series of hierarchical levels - this meant users saw only the level of detail that they needed.

To nudge users to spend funds on hiring more apprentices, I collaborated with the Cabinet Office’s Behavioural Insights Team to use their research into cognitive bias and behavioural science. Together we designed language that leveraged loss aversion and avoided the endowment effect by framing the spending of funds as a gain. Read a research note I wrote about this collaboration.

I worked closely with 2 UX designers to come up with many different data visualisation approaches for financial forecasting and planning. This approach involved lots of sketching, paper prototyping, wire framing, and static mock ups in Sketch and Invision, and rough prototypes on Heroku - without wasting time and money writing production quality code.  

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

I helped reduce the department’s environmental guidance by 80% in order to save money and make it easier for people to understand environmental law.

My role: Senior Content Designer
My goal: Produce accurate and easy-to-understand content to reduce call centre calls and site maintenance costs, and make it easier for people to meet environmental protection standards

I used Analytics navigation summaries to map out the current user journeys.

I used Analytics organic keyword searches and call centre data to find out whether their was a user need for the content.

I worked closely with lawyers, economists, and policy teams to find out what we needed to tell people.

I wrote in plain English in the GOV.UK house style and voice.

I used Google trends, SEMrush, and online message boards to find out the vernacular language users were using to make the content easier to find and understand.

I monitored how the content performed by measuring page impressions and bounce rates, ongoing call centre data and email enquires.