Weeknotes, 24th March

Working my butt off, my month in review.

I’m combining the last four weeks in this post. Things have been BUSY and it’s been hard to find the time to write weeknotes. Here’s a small selection of what I’ve been doing:

  • End of tax year rush: This year I’ve had a massive end of tax year rush, with clients needing to spend budget before April. I’ve never had this much work on before – I have three people helping me, and I’ve turned down masses of work too. This makes me so uncomfortable. I’m busy and booked up, but the memory of all the lean times makes it very tempting to take on everything that comes my way. Having said that, I’m looking forward to things calming down again – it’s okay to work at this pace from time to time, but I’m really feeling the impact now.
  • Gathering stories: I’ve been working with subject matter experts from a client’s organisation to find stories to use to illustrate their upcoming strategic narrative. Getting to speak to people with deep expertise in and passion for their field is a treat. But this has been special because it’s focused on topics that intersect with climate change, like species reintroduction and tree planting. I’ve been reading lots about rewilding, ecosystem restoration, and indigenous expertise over the last few years, and this stuff makes my brain feel fizzy with excitement and hope.
  • Working on an IA: the intranet IA work continues, but I had a breakthrough. The client has a large, complex organisation and a lot of information to convey. I was struggling to come up with primary level category names to encompass the much more clearly delineated secondary level categories. Nothing I tried worked. The problem was that I was thinking about it with a set idea in my head of how it had to be: a maximum of seven primary categories that would sit in a nav bar. But when I thought more about the context in which people would use this site, I realised that this was totally the wrong way to approach it. Because it’s such a vast amount of information, a broad, topic-based IA is the way to go. I ended up taking a lot of inspiration from GOV.UK. (Genius steals, right?). Wireframing also really helped with the process – something I don’t typically do as I feel like it’s ‘not my job’ – but I’m going to start doing more.
  • Writing a strategy: I also had a great half-day workshop in person with the same client to talk about the wider strategy. Everything flowed beautifully onto the Post-its and white board, and we ended up with the shortest strategy I’ve ever written – the full version is under 500 words. The one-pager is about 300 words. The statement is 25 words. I love a short strategy. Still not down to the 5 word version I dream of, but maybe one day?
  • Mulling over terminology for a content model: I’m working on a content model for a different client and asked for some advice on the term ’SEND’ (special education needs and disability). I’m embedding the thread here, because I think it’s a really interesting and worthwhile read. The TLDR is that the term can be used to refer to a kind of support, but should not be used to describe people. There was also some very useful involvement from parents who talked about how the term is something they’re familiar with and know to look out for.

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