Bringing Design Closer with Gerry Scullion

Rachel McConnell 'From Leading Content Design to Leading Design'

John Carter
November 10, 2022
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Rachel McConnell 'From Leading Content Design to Leading Design'

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Hello and welcome to This is HCD. Our goal is to have conversations that inspire and to help move the dial forward for organisations to become more human-centred in their approach to solving complex business and societal problems.

If you like what we do at This is HCD and want to help us - there are a few things you can do;

  1. Leave a review wherever you like to listen to the podcast it takes a couple of minutes, but it’s one of the most important thing you can do to show support - every little helps.
  2. Become a Patron. You can get an ad-free stream of the podcast for as little as €1.66 per month and you also get a a shout out as thanks - there’s other plans where you can get exclusive items too. All the money goes directly to editing, hosting and maintaining our website which is a repository for human centered design goodness - with over 220 episodes.

In this episode I chat with one of the leaders in the Content Design space, Rachel McConnell. We chat about the work that they are doing in Flo Healthcare, and touch of some of the work that they did whilst at Deliveroo. We chat about the learnings at Flo, where the organisation is going through another iteration on how to connect the dots between Product Design, Content Design etc. Rachel now finds herself in such an exciting position as Design Director with Flo, that allows her to apply much of the knowledge within their second book titled ‘Leading Content Design’ published by the wonderful people at A Book Apart.

We chat about the work Rachel is also doing with Lead with Tempo Conference too.

Rachel was such a wonderful guest, we had so much fun making this episode - I’m sure you’ll enjoy it too!

Episode Transcript

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This transcript was generated using Descript and may contain minor errrors.

[00:00:00] Rachel McConnell: You know how we scale effectively because it's very different when you are a scrappy startup with four or five designers to when you are a design team of 35. And actually, you know, the way you work needs to change, the way you structure the team needs to change. And yeah, I mean, I guess it has evolved a lot over the last few.

[00:00:25] Gerry Scullion: Hello and welcome to this is H cd. Our goal is to have conversations that inspire and help move the dial forward for organizations to become more human centered in their approach to solving complex business and societal problems. My name is Jerry Scalian and I'm the founder of This is eight cd and if you like, what we do at this is eight CD and want to help us, there's a few things you can do to get started.

[00:00:46] Gerry Scullion: Number one, you can leave a review. Wherever you're listening to this podcast right at this moment, it only takes a couple of minutes, but it's one of the most important things you can do and help others find the podcasters too, and every little. Number two, you can become a [00:01:00] patron. You can get an ad free stream of the podcast for as little as one Euro 66 per month, and also get a shout out as a thanks on the podcast too.

[00:01:07] Gerry Scullion: Now, there are other plans there if you wanna really show your support, such as get a hoodie and get a t-shirt as well, with an embroidered design for humans logo, all the money goes directly to editing, hosting, and maintaining our. Which is now a repository for human center design goodness, with over 220 episodes.

[00:01:25] Gerry Scullion: Now in this episode, I chat with one of the leaders in the content design space, Rachel McConnell. We chat about the work that they're doing at Flow Healthcare and touch on some of the work they did whilst and deliver room. We chat about the learnings at flow, where the organization is going through another iteration, and how to connect the dots between product design, content design and more.

[00:01:46] Gerry Scullion: Rachel now finds herself in such an exciting position as design director with flow. That allows her to apply much of the knowledge within their second book titled Leading Content Design, published by The Wonderful People at a Book Apart. We [00:02:00] chat about the work that Rachel is doing, also with Lead with Tampa, the conference that Rachel co-founded.

[00:02:05] Gerry Scullion: Rachel was such a wonderful guest. We had such fun making this episode, and I hope you enjoy it too. Let's jump in. Rachel, great to have you in the show. How's it

[00:02:15] Rachel McConnell: going? Good, thank you. Yeah, not bad at all. Whereabouts in the uk? I am just outside Brighton. I'm sort of in a village that no one's ever heard of, um, called Cow Fold, which is about 20 minutes outside Brighton.

[00:02:30] Gerry Scullion: Nice, nice. Good part of the world. Um, what's the weather like over there today? Uh,

[00:02:35] Rachel McConnell: It's actually quite nice today. It's quite sunny, it's quite mild, a bit windy. Um, I, to be honest, I haven't been outside all day , which is really sad. My, uh, my office is at the bottom of my garden, so I walk about six steps to my office and then six steps back to the house.

[00:02:54] Rachel McConnell: My step count is pretty low. Sometimes.

[00:02:57] Gerry Scullion: Sometimes they have to check the pulls to make sure you're alive. [00:03:00] Yeah. But look, um, you know, we're gonna be chatting today, your, um, now design director for Flow Health a, um, a pretty cool product we've just been discussing beforehand. Um, that really focuses on the, the biometrics, is it, and the, the metrics for.

[00:03:17] Gerry Scullion: The, uh, what does it say here, the better, uh, a better future for female health by helping our users harness the power of their body signals.

[00:03:25] Rachel McConnell: So yeah, I think that's a, a really longwinded way of saying it helps people understand their hormones. ,

[00:03:31] Gerry Scullion: pretty much, um, pretty much. So you promoted to design director, um, Yes.

[00:03:38] Gerry Scullion: Yep, That's right. And what does the, the role now, Well,

[00:03:43] Rachel McConnell: this isn't, it's, it is interesting. So, um, I'm pretty much starting from scratch in terms of the design team because until I came into this role six months ago, all of our product designers and researchers reported directly into, um, [00:04:00] product VPs and there was just a completely flat structure.

[00:04:03] Rachel McConnell: So, I think when I started in my new role, I had something crazy, like 22 direct reports. Right. Um, so I've hired a head of research who's just started and taken on the research team. Uh, and I'm hiring other roles, so I'm creating structure and hierarchy for the team and, you know, putting all together, putting together the basics, I guess.

[00:04:29] Rachel McConnell: From Right. From role expectations through to hiring someone to build out our design system. So we really are kind of starting from, starting from nothing in terms of building that design culture. Yeah. Um, at flow, which is exciting, but also, you know, quite challenging. Right. Um, given the environment

[00:04:47] Gerry Scullion: flow isn't a new business, it's been around, I'm gonna guess here about eight years, is it?

[00:04:53] Gerry Scullion: Something around. Yes.

[00:04:55] Rachel McConnell: Seven,

[00:04:55] Gerry Scullion: eight years. Yeah. So it's interesting that they're probably going through their second or [00:05:00] third iteration of how they design and how they, how they create things. Is that, is that, is that correct?

[00:05:07] Rachel McConnell: Yeah, I think so. And it's about understanding, um, you know, how we scale effectively because it's very different when you are a scrappy startup with four or five designers to when you are a design team of 35.

[00:05:23] Rachel McConnell: Um, and actually, you know, things. The way you work needs to change, um, the way you structure the team needs to change. And yeah, I mean, I guess it has evolved a lot over the last few years. I mean, even, even our research team, a year ago we had one researcher and now we've got a team of nine. So Nice. You know, it's come on a very long way, in a very short space of time.

[00:05:47] Rachel McConnell: In the history of the company, you know, the, the team we have now in terms of kind of user centered disciplines, like content design, for example, have only existed in the organization for, for the last year. So [00:06:00] yeah, it's about establishing new ways of working. It's about building relations and I guess taking, taking the company on a bit of a journey around what is design thinking and.

[00:06:11] Rachel McConnell: You know why it's even important to have researchers or content designers? Yeah. I

[00:06:16] Gerry Scullion: mean, you yourself, It's interesting, like you talk about the evolution of. The organization when it's only been four or five years ago that you released your first book. Um, and help me out with the title is Why You Need a Content

[00:06:30] Rachel McConnell: Design Team, Why You Need a Content Team, And How to Build One

[00:06:34] Gerry Scullion: Very Pragmatic guide On, on how to implement that into the design, kind of the typical design structure.

[00:06:42] Gerry Scullion: I'm doing air quotes here. Um, and then your second book is, is Leading. The content design function within that team. So you can see that it was almost like education about what content design is, um, and selling it in. And then second thing is leading it. So [00:07:00] you're pretty well placed to, to have this conversation today about how to build the design team, but also to introduce those kind of functions that typical.

[00:07:09] Gerry Scullion: Some organizations may not have had. Um, well, where does content design currently with, with Flow?

[00:07:17] Rachel McConnell: So we have, um, content design sits in my team. So we sit sort of side by side with product design. Uh, we're not quite an equal ratio, so I think we have maybe one designer to. To every, um, to product designers, um, which isn't, isn't a bad ratio actually.

[00:07:37] Rachel McConnell: Um, and we actually try to co-design and start, you know, right from the start of an initiative. We'll make sure that the content designers and product designers are in the same session, so they've got the same context. Um, we've just started to use things like project canvases to get the team aligned and then the, in terms, Um, [00:08:00] moving into like concept development and ideation, it's quite interchangeable Who could run those sessions?

[00:08:06] Rachel McConnell: For example, you know, we have content designers who might run some content led ideation or conversational design approaches. Equally, they might be able to run. Um, you know, sketching sessions with the team. So we, we sort of embrace the blur, I guess, a little bit between the disciplines and at times, you know, they will kind of converge and diverge and do the things that a specialist,

[00:08:31] Gerry Scullion: So you've got one, a ratio of, of one to two or two to one, depending on how you're looking at it.

[00:08:38] Gerry Scullion: Um, do you hire user experience designers? Is that term already kind of outdated?

[00:08:44] Rachel McConnell: So we have product designers. Um, in an ideal world, the product designer would be, you know, 50% ux, 50% ui. Um, I guess it's natural that most designers lean towards one end of the [00:09:00] spectrum or have a preference in how they spend a lot of their time.

[00:09:03] Rachel McConnell: And you know, I've definitely found that through, I've been interviewing for a lot of roles over the last couple of months. Can't, I've probably had hundreds of interviews. Um, and, and people do naturally have a leaning, and I think it's genuinely, genuinely quite. It's difficult to find someone who can, you know, flex between and is happy to flex between both equally well.

[00:09:24] Rachel McConnell: So what what is really helpful with when you have a content designer is a lot of content designers are from that UX background and are familiar with UX methodology and techniques. So actually when you pair them up with someone who might be more on the kinda UI side, it's quite a, it's quite a good combination.

[00:09:42] Rachel McConnell: They actually tend to work quite well together. And actually, you know, I think that's, that's where the beauty of collaboration and multidiscipline teams comes in, because you've got people who have all these like different skills, but actually when they come together and, and sort of [00:10:00] blend those skills, it doesn't really matter who's, you know, who's driving it.

[00:10:04] Rachel McConnell: As long as you're kind of getting the outcomes and that you need, it shouldn't really matter who's, who's driving those different stages of the process.

[00:10:12] Gerry Scullion: It does feel. UX designer role though, has kind of become less and less, um, commonplace, I think in, in some of the organizations that I've spoken to recently.

[00:10:25] Gerry Scullion: And product design seems to be replacing that, that term, um, that definition. Is that, is that the same what you see or how do you see it?

[00:10:36] Rachel McConnell: Yeah, I mean, I guess my view is, We, we are all essentially UX designers. We're all designing the experience, We're all designing the user experience, whether we're, you know, whether we're titled as a, a product designer or UI designer, or a content designer, whatever our titles are, we're all doing UX and I think those.

[00:10:55] Rachel McConnell: Methodologies translate into the roles. And I, I've worked with a lot of UX [00:11:00] designers in the past, and actually when I was first a content designer, the first few years I was working really, really closely with UX designers and picked up a lot of techniques and skills Yeah. Um, that, you know, I still use to this day.

[00:11:13] Rachel McConnell: Um, so I definitely think there is, is still a need for that UX thinking and those practices and those methods. Um, You know, even in some cases, I would say if you are working on a big strategic initiative where actually you need to do a lot of upfront thinking before you even get into sort of. Design work, then actually UX design is, becomes much more important, um, than, you know, if you're just kind of putting together a quick experiment, a low, you know, a quick low risk experiment to kind of put out the door, you know?

[00:11:51] Rachel McConnell: So I think it depends on the type of project and the type of organization. Um, I think there's a role for it, but I do think that where you need [00:12:00] to. Where you are in a very fast paced environment, um, where you need to get things out quickly. Actually, sometimes you, you just need people who are, who have a bit of UX thinking, but are actually more delivery focused in terms of that's prototyping and high fidelity design.

[00:12:19] Rachel McConnell: So yeah, I really, I do think there's a role for it, but I think it depends on where you are and the nature of the work.

[00:12:26] Gerry Scullion: Yeah. And absolutely. Content design. I mean, um, whenever Sarah Richards, Sarah Winters, uh, wrote content design book, I think it might have been 2016, um, somewhere around the 2017. I don't know.

[00:12:40] Gerry Scullion: It all gets a bit blurry over the last six or seven years, . Um, I remember reading that book at that time and kind of going, Yeah, this makes sense, UX is, you know, missing. Critical element. Where, where were you, um, in those years as well? Like, and what role were you playing? Have you always been in, um, the [00:13:00] content side of, of design?

[00:13:02] Rachel McConnell: Yeah. I was actually, at the time the book came out, I was in my first content design role and building a team and actually, um, Uh, I, I don't think I was called, I can't, I can't even remember if I was called a content designer, but I was essentially in, um, a digital team who in a big large organization that were going through a lot of transformation and were creating new web journeys, actually, insurance journeys.

[00:13:30] Rachel McConnell: Mm-hmm. and I was, um, at the time creating content for. Uh, kind of blog, blog, website, really writing articles and social managing social media accounts and that kind of thing. And I noticed that the designers and the, at the time UX designers and UI designers were. And actually developers and product managers were creating all these form online forms and data capture journeys without any content [00:14:00] experts.

[00:14:00] Rachel McConnell: And I, I, you know, I sort of said, Well, why are you writing the content around these things? This is, this is the work of. A content expert, you know, you need to write with clarity. You need to write simply. You need to understand how to communicate a really tricky concept in a word. And that isn't something that just anyone can do.

[00:14:19] Rachel McConnell: Um, you know, it's actually takes, takes. Takes a longer time to write short copy than it does to write long copy. You know, it's actually really, really difficult. Sometimes you think, oh, one, one word's easy. It's actually, they're the often the hardest things to write. So I kind of volunteered to to support that and help.

[00:14:36] Rachel McConnell: And then before I knew it, I was across six. Product teams working on six different initiatives, um, which obviously wasn't sustainable. So I started to build a team and it was kind of around that time that that book came out. Um, and it actually was quite helpful cause I was hiring content designers. I could be like, Okay, well now you know, this is a, a valid, this is a valid term.

[00:14:58] Rachel McConnell: This is what [00:15:00] content design is, this is why it's important. And actually that, that led me to write my book because it was, yeah, it was almost like the follow up of. What are the different content roles? How is a content strategist different from a content designer? How is a UX writer different from a content designer?

[00:15:14] Rachel McConnell: We have all these terms. What does it mean if I'm running a design team? What do I need to hire for? How should I structure that team? You know, and it's all these questions that I wish I'd sort of almost had that book at the time and could have handed to my. Then design director and said, This is why you need the team.

[00:15:32] Rachel McConnell: This is how we should structure it. Um, and this is how we should hire for, for these

[00:15:37] Gerry Scullion: roles. And that's the book why you need a Content, Content Design Team and how to build One . I mean, like it's, um, it rolls off the

[00:15:48] Rachel McConnell: It does what it says on the

[00:15:49] Gerry Scullion: tin. It is exactly what it says on the tin. And I mean, you just answered your own question there. Really. By creating it for yourself and you wish you had it. And that in itself, mm-hmm. was, um, was very helpful [00:16:00] to a lot of people. Um, I think most people, guess what? Content design is, and I remember at the time when I saw it, it, it felt like it, it sort of, um, covered over the gaps in the user experience design toolkit.

[00:16:17] Gerry Scullion: I guess if you want the bits where I'm like, I, I've been writing content and I know. So it's great to work with, with content designers and I've been lucky enough to work alongside some really good content designers in, in my career. Um, so that book will definitely be very helpful, but I'm interested to see about, um, the evolution of content design and the second book that you wrote about leading content design.

[00:16:43] Gerry Scullion: So, mm-hmm. , my question to you is, if you're leading content design, um, how is that different to leading.

[00:16:50] Rachel McConnell: I think there's some unique challenges that, um, content designers face and there are some similar challenges, you know, like advocating [00:17:00] for our roles and the value we bring to the organization and, you know, proving that value.

[00:17:05] Rachel McConnell: But I think there's some really unique challenges in content because content itself is a bit of a broad term. Yeah. And. There's, there's nuances between different content roles and I think it can be very hard to help organizations understand, um, those nuances, but then also know how to work with them.

[00:17:27] Rachel McConnell: And so the difficulty, a lot of, um, Content designers face, and it's something you sort of mentioned yourself is that, you know, many organizations, the designers are putting the content in. Yeah. They don't probably really want to be, cause it's not their specialism, but they don't have anyone else to, to do it.

[00:17:43] Rachel McConnell: Um, and they, and actually sometimes UX designers actually do want to write the content and there's this level of control as well. You know, designers have, when, when they're working with a product manager, they can be completely accountable for the design process and the, and the output, [00:18:00] um, and the outcomes even.

[00:18:01] Rachel McConnell: And then when they start, What trying, you know, when you try and start collaborating with them, it's very, very hard to kind of break into that because they're not used to it. They dunno when to work with you, when to involve you, when not to involve you. Um, so the biggest, I think the biggest challenge that a lot of content designers face is they're put into an organization or they're hid into an organization that historically hasn't really had content designers.

[00:18:26] Rachel McConnell: Yeah. They dunno how to work with them and they have designers who are. Um, kind of reticent and reluctant to give up, you know, the keys to the designs. You know, they don't wanna share. You don't, they don't wanna give people editing rights in Figma and they don't want to ideate together. And it's just, it's these sorts of challenges which really, really, um, really are really hard to overcome.

[00:18:52] Rachel McConnell: And I think the other, the other thing that is interesting with content design is, It's the, it bridges the gap between a lot of [00:19:00] places in the organization and the product. So content crosses into brand, it crosses into marketing, it crosses into call centers. All of the things we look at from a service design perspective, all it is all kind of hangs together through content.

[00:19:14] Rachel McConnell: You know, do we tell our, do we tell our users the same thing online as we. In our call center script, are there break points of, of, of content across the organization? And the content designer is in a, in a role where, you know, they have to work with product, legal, localization teams, marketing teams, and kind of, they're, they're almost like the linchpin in a sense of everything else that's going on in the organization from a content point of view.

[00:19:40] Rachel McConnell: And then what our users end up seeing. So there's, there's complexities around. Working with other parts of the organization, there's complexities of working with stakeholders and going through, you know, sign off processes on content, which can be quite complex and challenging. [00:20:00] Um, and, and often when you are responsible for that content.

[00:20:03] Rachel McConnell: The, these are things that you almost need like a framework for to, to, to do it efficiently and effectively. Otherwise, you're just kind of coming up against the same, the same blockers all

[00:20:13] Gerry Scullion: the time. Which is a fantastic segue folks into the next section. That framework that you're talking about. Okay. Is, was a question that I had for you, like so.

[00:20:24] Gerry Scullion: You know, got the double diamond. Okay. And I, I hate calling it out in this show because most people would be like rolling their eyes. The double diamond , the triple diamond. There's lots of different frameworks. And when you were talking there, the question around, um, research Okay. And the level of, of different zoom levels that.

[00:20:46] Gerry Scullion: You're researching at are gonna derive d insights based on, on the language that's used, um mm-hmm. versus the usability of, of a product versus like wayfinding, whatever zoom level you're gonna look [00:21:00] at. How have you found the introduction of content design into the processes and how has that reshaped the research process?

[00:21:10] Rachel McConnell: Actually, I found the biggest allies to content design are often researchers. Yeah. Because we have skills that can really help them in their process. And actually I do, I remember when I was at delivery and I used to work really closely with the research, or I used to help write the test scripts. I used to, you know, help prepare.

[00:21:29] Rachel McConnell: Our interview materials. I, we used to co-facilitate, um, Gorilla Research with our riders as working on the rider app at the time. I,

[00:21:39] Gerry Scullion: when you're writing those scripts, and I didn't mean to, to be so, so stop you there, , what kind questions is a content design need really looking to, to distill and get.

[00:21:51] Rachel McConnell: How people, how do people describe things?

[00:21:54] Rachel McConnell: What's the language they use? What's their level of comprehension? Mm-hmm. , are they understanding what we are telling them in [00:22:00] the product? How are they, how are they interpreting the information? Yeah. And I think like that's, that's often, um, you know, something that we might pick up through. User testing, for example, when we, when we're observing like behavior and we're, we're observing, um, how people interact with the content we might pick up on or they didn't understand it, but actually from a, when you've got a content expert in the room, they can say, Okay.

[00:22:27] Rachel McConnell: I've got a hypothesis around how we could make this improve to understand you can actually even, you know, if you've had three or four participants who've all got stuck on the same thing, change it for the next one and see if it helps. You know, you can do it there and then Absolutely. You can see really quick improvements.

[00:22:41] Rachel McConnell: I think even like from concept development though, or testing like early concepts, just getting that proposition right, just getting that value proposition right for, for a concept makes all the difference between whether people. We'll respond positively or negatively to it. And, you know, content designers can really help with that [00:23:00] because they're experts in shaping the content around the, the, the outcomes that the user's trying to achieve.

[00:23:07] Rachel McConnell: So even at early kind of concept test stage, I think you can get a lot of value from, from getting your content designers and product naming, that is a huge one where content design skills are often overlooked. What will happen is the organization will decide to name a feature or product and they're like, Oh, it's just internal.

[00:23:25] Rachel McConnell: It's not gonna go, you know, it's not gonna go out to users. And then before you know it, the name is just stuck. And then they're launching this feature with a god awful abstract name that no one understands. It's like, get your content. Design is involved. That's what they're there for.

[00:23:40] Gerry Scullion: I know it's interesting cause um, I dunno where, where it's come from, but some teams that I've, I've coached believe.

[00:23:50] Gerry Scullion: The researchers look after the research piece. Okay. And they, they inherit, uh, the findings and they take those findings and they, they kind of like move with it forward downstream if you [00:24:00] want. But whenever I'm teaching, um, any of the design research stuff, Um, the, the co-creation of a research proposal with as many people involved as possible to really define the research question is one of the most valuable things you can do.

[00:24:15] Gerry Scullion: Cuz it, it avoids you from getting into a bottleneck further downstream where they're like, Well I didn't sign off on that. So yeah, by using that approach and having content designers involved at the content research proposal, um, sorry. Stage is one way to really, um, avoid that I guess is that it's not something

[00:24:31] Rachel McConnell: you.

[00:24:32] Rachel McConnell: Yeah, definitely. Um, actually we used to get the whole team involved in, um, defining research objectives. Like what are the things we are all trying to find out? And then you can understand, okay, what, what's what, what are the key things that this team needs to know about the users before we can proceed?

[00:24:52] Rachel McConnell: And sure, some of it will be, you know, product based. Some of it'll be about content. Uh, some of it might be. Behavior. [00:25:00] Um, and I, I think like if you are all aligned on the, the priorities when you create, when you know, when you create that research brief, it does really help. It also helps just engage everyone.

[00:25:11] Rachel McConnell: I mean, we used to take our engineers along to research sessions at Deliveroo and they were the most user-centric engineers I've ever worked with because they were part of that process and they were invested in how our users. We're, um, interacting with the app, and I've never seen that anywhere else, just that level of.

[00:25:30] Rachel McConnell: A dedication from every single discipline into, to getting closer to users and understanding user needs.

[00:25:36] Gerry Scullion: Yeah, delivery is probably a really interesting case study, I'm sure for, for content design because I, as I mentioned to you before, and I'm, I'm writing a, a module in, in a course I'm writing at the moment and the time sensitivity.

[00:25:50] Gerry Scullion: Tell me if I'm wrong here now because I do a disclaimer in my course that I'm like, I'm not gonna work for Deliveroo. But, um, the time sensitivity. When you open up your delivery [00:26:00] app, you're getting in the way of one of the biggest blockers in my brain, and that is hunger. hunger gets in the way. I'm like, if anything is to interrupt that flow, I'm most likely gonna throw the phone against the wall.

[00:26:16] Gerry Scullion: So, yeah. Is that, was that one of your findings as well? Like, it's a really sensitive, um, kind of process that you need to be aware of.

[00:26:23] Rachel McConnell: Yeah. It's also really time sensitive from a rider point of view, because they want to do as many deliveries in a, in an hour as they can, because that's where the money is, right?

[00:26:32] Rachel McConnell: Yeah. So any, any tiny thing, um, that that uses. You know, seconds of their time contributes to a slower delivery and, and less deliveries an hour. So, um, yeah, time was definitely a huge, huge issue for both riders, customers, and, and restaurants. Cuz obviously the food needs to be picked up at a particular time because if it sits there and gets cold then customers aren't happy.

[00:26:58] Rachel McConnell: Yeah. But then you don't want [00:27:00] someone there early. You don't want your riders. Hanging around, clogging up the restaurant. So, um, from kind of all three user perspectives, time was definitely, uh, yeah, a huge factor in everything we did.

[00:27:12] Gerry Scullion: I'm not saying it was me, but somebody told me that McDonald's, um, where maybe it was me, um, were automatically triggering.

[00:27:22] Gerry Scullion: Whenever the order went through, they were automatically triggering to the driver that the food was ready, and as a result, the, the riders were sitting outside waiting. They were trying to make sure. The food was gonna get there hot, but in the end it came back and bit them on the bum. I dunno if you have any experience in, in that, in, in sort of ensuring that the sincerity of the trigger to call the rider is, um, is so important cuz it's, it's a really, from a service design perspective, it's, it's orchestration at its very best.

[00:27:51] Rachel McConnell: Yeah, the logistics behind it are, are crazy. Um, I do remember like one of the things that we, we had to try and [00:28:00] combat was actually riders being too early at the restaurant because they're too early, they're just hanging around. Yeah. Um, and actually if they check in and say, If they also check in and say that they're there, but they're not there because they want the food to be ready, then that upsets the restaurants.

[00:28:13] Rachel McConnell: Cuz then they get the food ready and the rider's not there. So a three sided product is, um, really interesting to work on because you've just got all of those different, um, Conflicting conflicting priorities. Yeah,

[00:28:27] Gerry Scullion: and I mean, I mentioned there like that I get hungry, but I also get very hang. And whenever I, I'm watching that little, um, that little figure on the map getting closer to my house, I'm, I am the person who's standing at the end of my path, my, my life

[00:28:44] Gerry Scullion: Well, and I noticed in the last six months, There's this emergence of a pattern where the rider obviously has an option to say, I'm outside. Can you come and meet me? When in effect, they're, they're probably about two or 300 meters away. So there's, there's always work to be done, I'm sure, [00:29:00] in, in that balancing of the three different stakeholders working congruently at the same time.

[00:29:05] Rachel McConnell: Yeah, and I think the same is for any product. Your users are always gonna find a way to play the system. Yeah. Whatever.

[00:29:11] Gerry Scullion: Absolutely. Like, you know, um, so the book Leading Content Design, it's, it's on a book apart. Probably maybe one of my favorite publishers. I'd say. Um, you know, they've produced a sensational array of incredible books over the years.

[00:29:29] Gerry Scullion: Um, if you were to talk to somebody at a dinner party, Rachel and I can already sense you kinda go, Oh. So you gonna ask next what, what, what do you, what's the key takeaways in those books? In the, the leading content design book? What, what are the three things that someone's gonna walk away and say, You buy this book, you got these things, ,

[00:29:50] Rachel McConnell: I think like basically just having.

[00:29:52] Rachel McConnell: The confidence to create the right conditions for their team to do their best work. Yeah. Giving someone who might be new [00:30:00] to leading a content team, like even if they're not, you know, they might not be from a content background, they might be a designer who suddenly found themselves. Leading content design.

[00:30:09] Rachel McConnell: Yeah. Um, but understanding the common blockers and barriers for, for a content team and, and having the confidence to, to kind of resolve them really and help the team more effectively inefficiently. So that would be the first one. Um, I'd say also if you've got a new team or even an old team that, oh, not an old team, like full of old people, but like , um, but like a team that's, you know, been around for a while and hasn't necessarily scaled with, uh, Common practice, you know, good foundations and common practices.

[00:30:44] Rachel McConnell: It will also help someone create common practices for the team and, you know, repeatable, repeatable frameworks that the team can use as they scale. Um, and then another thing which is really key, and I think this is something that again, transcends content [00:31:00] design into sort of any discipline, but how to advocate for your discipline within an organization.

[00:31:06] Rachel McConnell: Uh, I think this is not necessarily in tech companies, but I've worked in a. You know, big old organizations where you sort of have a digital team and you are trying to transform an organization, but the organization has never been taught about these disciplines or, or even design thinking. And so a lot of the time you're sort of trying to take people on that journey with you and show them a different way of working and, and help them appreciate how you can help.

[00:31:36] Rachel McConnell: Them have more impact in their role or have help the company have more impact. So it also has a lot of things around building advocacy and communities of practice, which helps people again, sort of keep those, keep those um, different content roles in an organization Connected. Awesome.

[00:31:55] Gerry Scullion: Well, Rachel, is there anything else you wanted to give a shout out to on the podcast?

[00:31:58] Gerry Scullion: Like maybe, are you [00:32:00] hiring at the moment or are you, you're like, Yes, I am .

[00:32:03] Rachel McConnell: I, I, you know, I'd love to give a shout out to, uh, um, a community that I run. Um, in addition to my day job, I run a community called Tempo for people that lead content teams or people. Are aspiring to move into leadership roles in content, and we have a conference in New York in March.

[00:32:25] Rachel McConnell: Uh, we got some really amazing speakers from content leadership, but also just from general design leadership. So if anyone would like to join our community, I'll find out more about the conference. If you go to lead with, um, you can find out everything you need to know.

[00:32:41] Gerry Scullion: That's awesome. I've just joined that as well, and I'll throw a link to that into the show notes.

[00:32:45] Gerry Scullion: Um, that sounds like a really worthwhile piece. Uh, do you have to be a content designers to, to join or can you be someone who's on the periphery?

[00:32:53] Rachel McConnell: Yeah, no, absolutely not. So I think it's, uh, it's, it's for anyone who, um, you know, you might be aspiring to lead, [00:33:00] uh, concert teams or you might, might be leading a content team, but from a non-content background, um, yeah, we're kind of pretty inclusive.

[00:33:08] Rachel McConnell: All

[00:33:08] Gerry Scullion: right. Nice. Well, I'll throw a link to that in the show notes. And also, um, maybe will I put a link to your LinkedIn as if anyone wants to follow up with you and ask questions and stay in touch?

[00:33:17] Rachel McConnell: Yeah, please do. That would be great. All

[00:33:19] Gerry Scullion: right, Rachel, listen, thank you so much for giving me your energy, your positivity, , your general openness to answering some crazy ass questions.

[00:33:29] Gerry Scullion: Um, so thanks so much for your time.

[00:33:31] Rachel McConnell: Thank you for having me. It's been a pleasure.

[00:33:36] Gerry Scullion: And there you go folks. I hope you enjoyed that episode and if you enjoyed it and want to listen to more, why not visit? This is hate where you can learn more about what we are up to and also explore our course while you're there. Thanks again for listening.

John Carter
Tech Vlogger & YouTuber

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