4. Diversity is an asset, not an edge case

[Part 4 of my series on language and service design] When I was working for GDS a few years ago, I was lucky enough to attend the session where Guilia Bazoli presented her research on Welsh language in Government. The session also included Bernard Tyers presenting on the work he’d done as a User Researcher on the Electronic Visa Waiver service. Bernard spent some of …

3. Qualitative, not quantitative, metrics

[Part 3 of my series on language and service design] Even recently, it’s noticeable how many of the conversations about services being provided in multiple languages that I’ve been involved in default to quantitative metrics: of the number of people who used this service, x percentage opted to use it in the language of y. Anyone who has managed metrics or analytics data on digital …

2. Graceful degradation

[Part 2 of my series on language and service design] I need to say up front that this post is not an apologetic for half-hearted, non-committal, or box ticking language adherence. But almost all sites with multilingual content that is not static (i.e. created once and never changed until the site dies) have unequal amounts of content in the different languages involved. If, as I …

1. How do users find content and services?

[Part 1 of my series on language and service design] When I delivered my first corporate website in the languages of Welsh and English fifteen years ago, I was happy about the fact that it was genuinely language agnostic. The first page you got to was a custom side by side screen with dual permanent navigation and a list of the most recently updated content …

moving from the what to the how – language in service design

It’s 1987 or 1988. I’m in the last year of attending primary school in a small Mid-Wales village. My school has an English language and a Welsh language section. In a school with only five teachers, most activities from the playground to the school play involve all of us, irrespective of language. We’re on a school trip to an army assault course, designed for training …

Why we should stop talking about Assisted Digital

I’ve heard a few presentations, podcasts and the like recently that have referenced Assisted Digital and Service Design. This hasn’t felt right. And I think the reason for this is that I don’t believe that the two concepts can co-exist. Service Design assumes that you consider the entire service from the outset, regardless of delivery channel (hence the renaming of the Digital Service Standard to …

Five things to remember about changing service provision to respond to lockdown

It’s easy to rush into changing a service to meet the demands of a post-COVID 19 world in lockdown but it’s worth pausing before making changes. Failing to consider users risks wasting resource by providing a service that won’t be used because it’s not accessible. Even worse, it could mean that we unknowingly increase the isolation or exclusion of our most vulnerable users by introducing …

F1 qualifying, Italy 2019

Formula 1 2020 season preview

A preview to this season’s forthcoming F1 action is going to be different to a preview to last season’s action. Last year, we had a crop of talented rookies and intrigue at all top three teams: would Bottas make the grade, would new Honda engines take Red Bull back to the top, and – most enticingly of all – what would happen to the incoming …

Product managing beyond products

My manager had asked to talk to me. The conversation we had was one of those conversations that you dream about as a product manager. When I say “dream”, I mean wake up early in the morning wondering what on earth you’ve let yourself in for. She started with  “you’re not doing much at the moment are you, Matt?” and then swiftly followed up with …

railway tracks being laid

what is change?

If a factory is torn down but the rationality that produced it is left standing, then that rationality will simply produce another factory. If a revolution destroys a government, but the systematic patterns of thought that produced that government are left intact, then those patterns will repeat themselves.” – Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance When thinking about change – particularly in …