Drum roll, please.
But do you really? Be honest now. Or do you think you know what they think they need? (How many times did you need to read that?). Then you need to be sure of the best format to present the information, how to cut it down to the vital stuff, the order in which they expect to see it and where their pain points are in the journey.
7. “It’s okay, if it’s not perfect, the users will work it out”
Whatever ‘it’ is, the user should not have to work for it. End of.
If they don’t find what they need in your website or service they will just phone you instead <cue ominous jaws type music because no-one wants that>, or leave and not come back.
8. “We need to keep the legal jargon or else we risk them doing it wrong and suing us”
Ohhhh, this one is a well-fought landmine between designers and the powers above. Policy teams will always want to keep the complicated jargon in, no matter how much you argue that actually, keeping the jargon makes it more likely the user will fail in their task or the end result will be wrong. Writing the content in Plain English helps the user to understand fully what they are doing, will give them a better experience and gives a much lower chance of any comeback on the business. Befriend your UR and prove this in your user testing. Conquer the jargon-a-mundo.
9. “We don’t need the content designer in this meeting”
All too often heard, along with “Sorry I forgot to invite you, as we weren’t talking about content”. Content crosses so many areas and we can gather insight from all manner of conversation. So don’t exclude us. At least give us the choice to decide for ourselves if the meeting will be relevant or not. Nobody keeps baby in the corner.
10. And I’ve saved the best until last - “We don’t need a content designer yet, we’ll bring one in at the end”
Oh. Just. No.
If all the above hasn’t convinced you otherwise there is no hope for you. Go sit in your sin bin and be condemned to the doom of reformatting everything you have done for the last year when you do bring a poor content designer in to unpick it all at the end. Or a barrage of calls to your helpline if you don’t even bring the content guru in. If you do, make sure you pay the poor CD well, they are going to have some LONG days ahead. And provide them with a pillow to scream in to and maybe some kind of tranquilliser, coffee, and biscuits. They will need it.
I hope that was sufficient enough to persuade you to go and look at your content and get a content designer on board. At the beginning of a project. No matter how big or small. Content designers are here to help and there is a great bank of talented individuals out there waiting for their next project. Or contact me. (FYI for those at the end of their project, I like cappuccino and dark choc digestive. Oh, and a non-feather pillow, please. I’m not fussy on my tranquillisers).
p.s. I am no film buff so I am quite impressed with the number of film references in this. Hurrah.