Category Archives: User experience

To collaborate on content, go beyond arguments to find an approach that works for everyone

What would it take to publish content that’s:

  • consistent,
  • works for users, and
  • is efficient to produce?

Not just once, but repeatedly. Not just when we’re working on our own, but when our projects involve many people.

It’s not a case of “fixing” the content. The key attributes of effective content don’t live in the content itself. Pointing at effective content doesn’t make it appear on your website… And the key attributes of effective content don’t live in your user, either. Their experience is affected by it, but they don’t influence it…

We need to look at the team behind the content. The key attributes of effective content live in the team that creates it. Not just the writers and editors, but everyone who contributes to or is affected by the content. So the question becomes, how can we support teams to produce effective content? This isn’t about getting “better” stakeholders, it’s about supporting the stakeholders we have to work together effectively. How can we do that? Continue reading To collaborate on content, go beyond arguments to find an approach that works for everyone

How to facilitate when you’re the expert: podcast conversation with Penny Walker

In this podcast with my friend and colleague Penny Walker, we discuss the challenge of facilitating discussions when you’re the expert. Penny is an independent facilitator specialising in sustainable development. She also presented at #dareconf mini last year.  Continue reading How to facilitate when you’re the expert: podcast conversation with Penny Walker

When people don’t engage in meetings, reframe your objectives to give them choice

When we go into meetings aiming to change people’s minds, they often object because their need for choice isn’t met. If we reframe our objectives to include finding solutions together, we can facilitate in a way that meets each person’s need for choice. Continue reading When people don’t engage in meetings, reframe your objectives to give them choice

Pushing back blocks empathy. Can you connect instead?

When a colleague makes a suggestion that we fear may harm our chances of success, we tend to “push back” against their position. This confrontation normally leads to neither side being satisfied. But if we connect instead of pushing back, we can move beyond positions and discover the underlying needs. This builds empathy and opens up options we hadn’t previously considered. Continue reading Pushing back blocks empathy. Can you connect instead?

Advocating for “quality” content serves our unmet needs, not user needs

When we advocate for “quality content”, we’re expressing our unmet needs by making a judgment. That doesn’t serve user needs.

During my talk at Confab Barcelona—”Use agile methods to work together on content” (slides below)—I suggested that in order to benefit from agile methods, we choose to “serve user need over content quality”:

Although most people in the room seemed to follow, a few objected: someone stated that user needs and quality are the same thing. Later a friend observed that my statement was provocative. I realised that I’m not interested in provoking people and I didn’t actually explain what I meant. I’ll do that here instead.  Continue reading Advocating for “quality” content serves our unmet needs, not user needs

Take part in #dareconf—the people skills conference—from anywhere

Gabriel Smy at #dareconf mini
Gabriel Smy at #dareconf mini

It’s almost a year since I organised #dareconf, the people skills conference. We’re back for a second year on 22-23 September, redesigned from the ground up—backstory if you’re interested—and I’m excited to show you the results. The pitch is “skills to help you work together”:  Continue reading Take part in #dareconf—the people skills conference—from anywhere