A blog post about user research in an R&D environment

BBC R&D blog post: User research in an R&D environment

I’ve been so consistently busy working for clients over the past few years that I’ve found very little time to write, which is a pity because there’s always lots to share. (Though I’m ever grateful for the consistency in client work.)

I recently completed a two-year stint working on an editorial algorithms project with BBC R&D; as my last task for the team, I wrote a blog post about what I learned working as a user researcher in R&D. It seems a good idea to share the post here – for one thing, it proves I’m still alive and working! And so, here it is: User Research in an R&D Environment.

Outside of BBC R&D, I’ve recently done some copyediting for A Book Apart, which was fun, and I’m currently doing user research in the pharmaceutical industry (Pfizer specifically) for Aktiv Research. Never a dull moment.

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2014 – 15: What I’ve been up to at GDS


I’ve been quiet (blogging wise) over the past year. It’s not because I’ve had nothing to share. Quite the opposite in fact.

I’ve been really busy doing two things:

  1. Working for Government Digital Service (GDS) – which is why my writing style is significantly more terse than it used to be. (I think that’s a good thing.)
  2. Hanging out with really brainy and out-the-box thinkers at BBC R&D, where I do stuff I can’t talk about and which is fantastically interesting.

But I can talk about GDS. Read More

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Content strategy for startups: blazing a new trail

Wright brothers take flight.

During the first half of this year I was contracted to develop a content strategy for a newly formed organisation. I say ‘newly formed’ in that at the time of starting the project I didn’t know very much about the client and, bizarrely, hadn’t quite wrapped my head around the idea that they were a startup. Read More

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The full birdsong: inspired by ‘Strategy on the Inside’

I’ve been inspired to write this post by an online conversation that sparked up over a tweet I sent out last week. The tweet resulted in a multi-person twitter exchange and the writing of two very thoughtful blog posts (one by Rachel Lovinger, the other by Destry Wion) regarding the word ‘strategy’ and whether it is an appropriate title for the kind and variances of the work we as digital and content-focused people get up to – not a new discussion but one that seems to revive with fair regularity. Read More

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A new Free Word website: my role as the content strategist and project manager

My often time contractors, Exploded View were asked during the first half of 2011 to propose for the redesign of Free Word’s website (launched in December 2011). I worked with Exploded View in writing the initial project proposal, and once the project was won, as the Project Manager, Content Strategist, and on various other bits.

The brief

Free Word are a free speech organisation based in London and were looking for a team to help them upgrade their website from a static and low-content site to something significantly more news- and content-heavy. They wanted a website which would present their global free speech work, the work of their residents and associates, and which would allow for, and to an extent encourage, ticket booking for their events. Because we were building for a mobile-loving audience of city slickers, campaigners, and activists, and because we wanted to deliver something which would see Free Word into the future, we developed a [tooltip title=”A website that is designed and built to automatically and appropriately adjust to the screen size it’s being viewed on whether mobile, tablet, TV, or desktop.”]responsive width design[/tooltip] website.

Read More

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Yogamatters: an ecommerce content strategy

Around the end of 2011 I completed a content strategy project for Yogamatters (via Exploded View). The project was not part of a website redesign (unusual for me) but focused on rethinking and redefining how Yogamatters were using their current media assets and content to represent their brand.

The project resulted in an extensive Tone of Voice and Style Guide document, including guidance on the use of imagery; a website audit and task list for improving current online content and user experience; and a document outlining overarching strategic ideas not only for digital but for print material too. As part of the project a content calendar was developed and the Yogamatters Facebook page was born.

I still meet with Yogamatters every now and again, when they call, to celebrate the things that have gone well, show them where they’re dropping the ball, and brainstorm how things can be improved still more.

What Yogamatters have to say…

“We worked with Kate to devise a content strategy that would inform, hone and improve our communications initiatives to better serve our business goals. For the duration of the four-month project, Kate was a highly organised, efficient and infectiously enthusiastic person to work with.

Read More

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