Week 8 - 7 December 2019

It’s nearly Christmas! We all got given advent calendars and the doorbell got changed to an 8 bit ‘We Wish you a Merry Christmas’. As the week went on it felt like the buzzer was increasingly at risk of getting ripped off the wall. I’ll let you know next week if it makes it.

We shipped a whole bunch of content changes, making things clearer and more consistent throughout the will making process. Everyone in the product team contributed to these changes (by which I mean actually rewrote copy), which is a testament to Clare helping us build such a strong shared understanding of where our product is doing things well and badly.

I also got an unusually uninterrupted amount of time (a day and a half or so) to think about a specific design problem this week - how we let users enter the details of people who are going in their will. The series of changes I landed on felt so simple that I wondered if the 50 or so iterations it took me to get there were worth it - but maybe that’s just the mark of a good design romp. Thinking through making is better than thinking through thinking. And I’ve always been bad at throwing away the work that got you to the final point. I was often told at art school that I’d overstuffed the final thing with ideas I’d picked up along the way. Still yet to kill those hoarding tendencies.

Finally on Friday I had a meeting with Dan and Tom (co-founders) where Catherine (head of marketing), Ethan (lead copywriter) and myself pitched a bit of work about improving the way we rank on google. It felt successful and I think we’re going to be working on it next year. There’s some knotty design work hiding in there, including building a single place for all our content to live (I’m still quietly thinking of it as the Farewill Guide to Death). I’ll re-read Designing Connected Content in preparation.

It’s mad how reliant companies have become on one megacorp’s black box algorithm - and how no one really knows how it works. Some of the SEO guidance out there feels almost ritualistic and hand-wavey (do this dance and google will reward you). But a lot of it does work. I still think the best SEO trick is to build good content that answers people’s questions. And if we can actually answer people’s questions about the more confusing aspects of death, then that’s something to be proud of.

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