Weeknotes, 10th February 2023

Bodging, workshopping, and consolidating gigantic lists of keywords: my week in review.

This week I’ve been:

Being resourceful

I’ve been bodging content types and a design system of sorts for a client in a platform that’s not really fit for purpose. They don’t have any choice but to use it, so I’ve been deploying every bit of my ingenuity to try and make it work.

It reminds me of one of my early jobs in content, where I had a CMS login, no training, limited experience, but lots of curiosity and permission to fail. It’s kind of fun, but it’s mostly frustrating to be so limited.

Running my first workshop of the year

I can’t believe I made it to February without running a workshop! Emily Hill, my partner for the project, and I scoped the session out on a 90 minute call last week, and it felt like the planning came together really beautifully. The session was focused on gathering stories from across the client’s organisation to bring their new strategy to life. It was great to watch people who perhaps didn’t see themselves as storytellers get into the exercise and identify examples from their work. I’m looking forward to working these into the strategy.

Finishing consolidating a gigantic list of website search terms

This task was a bit bananas and I really doubted whether it was worth it at points. I had a list of 22,000 search terms that users had put into a client’s website. Search is a very important feature for users, so I wanted to comb through the data to make sure I understood what people were looking for.

The initial consolidation was quick and easy: alphabetise and combine the similar terms, misspellings, use some spreadsheet formulas, etc. But beyond that it was painfully slow and detailed to actually understand which terms were the same and which were different. I tried using tools and AI to do this, but with no success. The tools I tried didn’t get it quite right, and Chat GPT said ‘no’ – I’m not sure if it was the volume, or that some of the subject matter (drugs) tripped the content filters. (If you know how to do this, I would love to hear from you.)

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