I start between 8.30–9am most mornings. I always check my emails and slack (a messaging app) first, that’s mainly because a team’s content designer can be involved in more than the design of the product or service itself. As well as continuous communication with my team, I communicate with our stakeholders, GOV.UK and the communications team about content outside of the service too.
Race to standup
At 9.45 we all race to the standup board because whoever is last has to lead it! We are a team consisting of developers, testers, designers, a user researcher, a scrum master, a business analyst, a product owner and a performance analyst. We stand around a whiteboard and discuss the work that we have in progress. Developers are dependant on our design tasks so it’s important that we tell them how long our work will take so that we don’t block their progress. Stand up encourages us to prioritise so that we work as efficiently as we can.
Every day is different
This job is wonderfully varied so it’s hard to lay out a typical day. I’m involved in user research sessions, updating content, meeting with my content community and taking part in design workshops.
Observe user research
Some days I’ll be observing user research sessions. The people I work closest with are the user researcher and the interaction designer. We huddle in a room, watch people use our product on some screen-sharing software and identify what is and isn’t working. We write lots of notes on post-its. Our user researcher will take our notes away for analysis and offer us recommendations about how we can improve.
I’ve learnt how to make changes directly to the prototype and the production version of our service which saves our interaction designer and developers time. What’s important is that I communicate this to my team and that I have a reason, based on user research, to be making changes.
Attend meetings with design and content communities
Fortunately, there are 6 content designers working on neighbouring projects. We have a ‘crit’ once a week where we bring some of our content along, give each other feedback and work together to restructure and rephrase things in the best way for the user. Despite the negative connotations suggested by the name, it’s a safe and friendly space to share ideas and learn from each other.
I also attend calls with the wider content and design communities that work from other sites. I get to see what problems other teams are trying to solve, get exposure to different designs and it’s a great way of developing my own problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
Get involved in design workshops
When we need to design a new feature for our service, we have team workshops. We start by identifying and discussing the user need or problem and sketch our ideas for a solution. We discuss each idea and sketch again. This means that we can integrate each other’s good ideas and try to come up with a consensus on a design. When we have settled on a solution, we’ll create a task to put on our stand up board. This task will involve us building the solution into our prototype ready for user research.
Leave work and have the energy to do other stuff
I generally finish work between 5 and 5.30pm. I get myself to the gym, meet friends for dinner or join my team or hippo colleagues for a lime and soda after work. A couple of times a week I’ll read a few chapters of a design book or any recommended design articles that have cropped up or I’ll listen to a content design podcast or two.Amongst other roles we are always on the look out for Content Designers here at Hippo Digital. Take a look at our work with us page to find out our current vacancies, or you can email your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org.