Recent learning: Content, data, and collaboration

Last week’s learning was a big week of content and data, with a touch of governance.

I completed the Introduction to Content Design course by FutureLearn and GDS. Prompted by Lizzie Bruce, I’ll be writing a review for the course’s suitability for people responsible for intranet content. In the meantime, my overall opinion is the course itself won’t make you a content designer, you’ll have to put in the practise yourself, but you will have a much greater appreciation for creating accessible content that meets the real needs of users. The course is free to take, but you’ll have to pay to take the tests and for the certificate. 

Since working on the Barclays Global Academies, I think a lot about how content and data can work across boundaries in an organisation, and it’s always good to hear other people’s views. Forrester analyst Kathleen Pierce presented a stimulating argument on The Rise of Content Atomization as an approach to support AI and personalisation, and suggested that breaking down content can create all kinds of organisational efficiencies. 

Kathleen touched on another theme covered by Professor Karen Cham in the final week of the Data-Driven User Experience Design, that of governance in the era of exploding quantities of data. This is absolutely something that organisations will have to cope with. I thoroughly enjoyed the six week whistle-stop course about applying data and UX to all kinds of problems, and hope to go back and explore some of the thinking at a more leisurely pace. 

Everybody is present in the process

Paul Epworth

Finally, one of my long-time favourite podcasts, Sodajerker on Songwriting, not only interviews some of the greatest songwriters, it also sheds light on the nature of creativity and collaboration. In a recent episode, musician and producer Paul Epworth is asked about his his studios which don’t feature the traditional control room. Paul says that he likes the vibe, and that “everybody is present in the process and, even if only one person is performing, everyone is there listening and passively participating.” It struck me that, just as studio design has followed a path having a mechanical need for sound isolation, that workplace design might have been stuck in its own rut. Are there assumptions that office design, and possibly remote working tools, that actually work against that passive participation?

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