Highlights of recent engagements are described below. Feel free to get in touch if you would like to know more.
- John Lewis Partnership – User Experience Review and UX Capability Development
- ASOS – Digital Learning Product Strategy: Building on Navigation, Exploration and Discovery
- FutureLearn – Content Strategy: Developing the Course Portfolio
- Advocacy Assembly – Learning experience review and recommendations
The John Lewis Partnership is on a journey to bring an excellent user experience to the heart of learning for all Partners and to bring user experience thinking to the heart of the teams supporting learning and development. Beginning with a user experience review of the previous incarnation of their learning content portal I have been helping the Partner Development team understand the principles and benefits of good UX and to take that message out across the organisation. Central to what has become a long-standing relationship, is a series of focused initiatives to help teams develop their own tools and techniques and guide them into practice on the next generation of digital learning products and content across the business. With major organisation and digital changes a constant factor in working life, the team and leadership have a clear focus on what works best in their context, how to design for user needs and how to demonstrate real value to their partners and stakeholders across the business. This work has involved the following elements:
- An independent user experience review of the Partner Development content portal, including content and product recommendations
- A series of workshops to highlight the benefits and impact of user experience thinking and practice for senior stakeholders, content producers and product designers
- Establishing design principles to define and manage the next generation of the learning content portal
- Advising on user research methods, data gathering and analytics to support bringing user data into all content and product planning
ASOS is a rapidly growing business, with a young and diverse workforce in a dynamic and highly competitive market. This digital workforce, in a digital industry, has an urgent and constant demand for new skills and approaches and fresh ways of working. Unsurprisingly, the business has deliberately steered a fresh course for their learning plans, recognising that a traditional approach will not resonate with ASOSers. One size will not fit all.
Rather than drawing all of their resources and services into one system, the People Experience team decided to adopt a best of breed approach; adopting the right tool for each need, supporting the agility required. The puzzle to solve in this environment is raising awareness of everything available and allowing simple and quick navigation, exploration and discovery of all content. All of this needed to be achieved in a matter of weeks whilst allowing long-term goals to be pursued after the first release. A new approach to managing the digital learning experience was needed. We created the following steps to steer this work:
- Establishing the “Three P’s” of the digital strategy – Purpose (vision and ambition), Principles (the guidelines and rules for development) and Personas (user needs and motivations)
- Supporting the introduction of digital product management principles and practices in the L&D team
- Developing and planning a product roadmap, setting the longer term goal for the service
- Managing user research to ensure direct insights inform plans quickly
FutureLearn has grown rapidly to become a leading provider of online courses for learners around the world. It is a business at the forefront of the revolution in digital higher education. With a course creating partnership of 138 leading universities and teaching institutions the service has attracted more than 7 million registered learners. One challenge of achieving such scale so swiftly is the complex decision of where to focus development. Central to that choice is the question of how to steer development of the course portfolio to continue growth and to enhance commercial performance.
I joined the FutureLearn team on a long-term engagement leading the development of a content strategy approach and apply the method to the ongoing development of the course portfolio. As a data lead business, the strategy is founded on platform usage statistics, user research and signals of demand from the global market. The approach has become a central part of the business and planning cycle for FutureLearn.
Advocacy Assembly is the world’s only free online training platform for human rights activists, campaigners and journalists, offering multimedia courses on data visualisation, data gathering and analysis, human rights documentation, journalism and media skills. Having launched the service and established an impressive roster of course providing partners with a portfolio of popular, focused and practical courses, Small Media (Advocacy Assembly owners) wanted to clarify their objectives for the next phase of development. The result was an independent content and learning experience review. This analysed the course discovery experience, the content and style of learning, consistency and clarity of learning within courses, facilitation and the editorial style and tone of presentation. The resulting report concentrated on a series of focused and practical recommendations which were presented at a partner forum as the basis for planning further course and platform development.