Weeknotes: 2nd February

Emergency IA and signs of light.

This week was supposed to be a week of catching up and getting as much work delivered as possible. I didn’t have many meetings or workshops in the diary, so there was plenty of the long stretches I need to get deep work done. I wasn’t quite as productive as I hoped (when will I stop overestimating how much work I can do?!) but I did get a fair bit done.

The biggest focus was an emergency IA and content model. A client got in touch recently needing an IA in a rush. I’m familiar with the subject matter and audience already from a past project, so it felt do-able. However, downsizing my usual process was harder than I expected. My typical process for an IA would look like this:

  1. Research the subject matter/domain area
  2. Create a domain model
  3. Conduct user and stakeholder research
  4. Compile a top tasks list
  5. Card sort exercise with users
  6. Design an IA
  7. Tree test the IA
  8. Refine the IA

This time, there wasn’t the luxury of the time and space to do all these steps. When I started working on it, I found myself wanting to jump straight to drawing up an IA, because I had a hunch about what would work. But when I tried to draw it up, it came out wrong and I felt very frustrated and blocked. In the end I had to go back to trying to follow the basis of the process:

  1. Map out the subject matter and domain area
  2. Refresh my memory on what I already new about the users
  3. Map out user needs, mental models and stakeholder goals
  4. Design an IA

It’s #weeknotes time, well belated weeknotes time. My big focus last week was an emergency IA and content model. I’m familiar with the subject matter and audience already, so it felt do-able in a shorter timeline than usual. However, downsizing my usual process was harder than I expected.

Process and methodology are a comfort blanket for me. Talking to Rachel McConnell also helped me unpick a thread about self-belief and trusting in your experience in this. I’m experienced enough that I can trust my instincts – and that’s part of the benefit I bring, not just the processes. And ideally, I’d love to be able to do things by the book every time. But, as I’ve mentioned in weeknotes gone by, sometimes ‘good enough’ is the pragmatic option.

I took a day off on Thursday to take my husband Thom to a hospital appointment. This coincided with Imbolc – the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, when signs of light and new life emerge. I’ve been seeing signs of spring on dog walks for the last few weeks; new buds on the trees, little clusters of snowdrops and Lords and Ladies/cuckoo pints popping up everywhere. The hospital appointment felt very hopeful too, and like it could usher in a new phase for Thom (waiting lists permitting).

Reading list

I finally finished Doppleganger by Naomi Klein, which I strongly recommend. I came for the Other Naomi plotline, and stayed for the absolutely fascinating exploration of digital doubling and politicial diagonalism. Hard recommend.

Wellbeing update

I think this week was pretty good, except for the fact that I felt stressed a lot of the time:

  • Went to one yoga class and stretched twice
  • Left my desk to go for a walk twice
  • Meditated or did breathwork twice
  • Socialised twice

Craft of the week

Another collage

A checkerboard collage with text reading 'Your next move...'

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