Working in technology, I enjoy listening to the experiences of other professionals. These occasions allow me to learn from the experiences of others in technology, before applying them to my own work and sharing with others.
Recently I attended the first ever After Hours event at Avenue HQ, which was organised by Oh This Way (OH). This featured Gail Mellows and Matt Tyas of Co-op Digital, who talked about their experiences and how they have used the skills learned on their digital journey, to benefit Co-op Digital and their clients.
Listening to Gail and Matt speak, I picked up on several reoccurring themes. These included collaboration, experimentation, quality of content, and working with other people. These are very important themes required in every single industry, as well as in everyday life.
In addition, there were other useful pieces of advice, that l learned from the event. These correspond to the themes that I have already mentioned, and in the spirit of learning and sharing, I have included some of these below.
- Never assume what your customers want.
- Experiment with different ways of working.
- Use your skills from childhood (e.g. drawing, sketching with colours, or using Lego), to get your ideas across.
- Prototyping is the start of collaboration between designers, developers and customers.
- Duplication needs to be reduced as it causes inefficiency, is unfair on colleagues, and is ultimately bad for customers.
- Important to research thoroughly and involve everyone.
- Prototyping allows you to make mistakes safely, quickly and cheaply.
- Give teams the right tools to do their job.
- Content needs to be designed so that it is legible, readable and accessible to all.
- Content and customer needs dictate the design outcome.
- Good design should go unnoticed.
- Quality of content is perceived by how a customer interacts with it.
- What you leave out is as important as what you include.
- Use the right words and not more words.
- Learn from what succeeded and failed.
To summarise what I have learned, content needs to meet the requirements stated by the customer. This is achieved by using different working methods, techniques and the right tools, to constantly experiment with various scenarios, before creating content that meets the required outcomes. As well as the above, content needs to meet quality standards, be accessible to everyone, is user-friendly, and based on strong foundations of thorough research and robust testing, from all relevant parties.
In conclusion, I would like to thank Robyn Dooley and Victoria Murray of OH for organising the event. My thanks also go to Gail and Matt from Co-op Digital for sharing their experiences, and also to Avenue HQ for hosting the event. This was an interesting and very useful discussion for me, and I am looking forward to the next After Hours event.
You can find out more about Co-op Digital’s work by looking at their blog.