Samantha Smeraglia




  • Like many on this course, my background is marketing & e-Learning. A user focus is key to both - you can only be successful if you are targeting your design around audience (and not the provider's) needs.

  • Testing the right hypothesis this way is key to whether you get useful results or not.

  • Page traffic and completion rates have been key indicators in measuring the effect of any changes. Historical or benchmark data is helpful in highlighting differences over time (in the usefulness of data, or user behaviour). User satisfaction is harder to measure but higher drop rates indicate potential gaps. You then need to decide whether to ask for more...

  • Using the number of pages visited could be a misleading measure, taken on its own. Users might be having to search around for the answers to their needs, or it could be they like where they land and are engaged enough to spend more time on the website. Think different measures are more useful at different stages of a user journey and may need to include...

  • Agree that the best way to convince SMEs it's a good use of time is to share the results. The challenge is getting them to do it in the first place! The best way to sell it to someone as a valuable use of time is that it saves them additional meetings or calls/emails back and forth.

  • @VanessaM Making the urls searchable also helps with rankings - both within the website (important for large websites such as and boosting SEO listings for external browsers.

  • Like most small teams, it's a case of how much is being paid for. The responsibility for maintenance is returned to the customer unless it's fixing small bugs. More wholesale changes happen when something needs to be updated e.g. because of a change in legislation, or the need to add new info.

  • Search terms, unique page views & average time on page. It helps to know if you are capturing misspellings too. Agree that more time seems devoted to the metrics and tweaking content, rather than looking at the core user needs. Customers want "bells and whistles" when paying for content design.

  • Google Analytics is a useful starting point but more detail is available, depending on which type of platform you are using for your content e.g. LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, or a company website. If using ads to direct people to your content then you get access to even more metrics.

  • Like many others, it seems the back end of the life-cycle can be overlooked. Little planning (or resource) goes into content review or archiving, unless the content causes an issue online.

  • @MaryCunningham What's wrong with excitement? It's engaging! Am on LinkedIn if you'd like to connect? I've met so many interesting people that way.

  • Lots of takeaway tips, tools and tricks. Think the course offers so much more than the title suggested (was not sure originally if I would get around to starting this course).

  • Needs a lot smaller paragraphs, with some clear headings. A timeline of the career history (with the option to click links for more detail), would be visually much clearer. Spell out the acronym and replace words such as 'renumerated'.

  • The use of sub-headings (with links), so users can jump directly to the section that is relevant to them. The absence of dense jargon and obscure-sounding numbered forms (a title link could work better). The use of plain, simple language makes the Jury information easier to use, with a clear way to navigate directly to the section needed.

  • You have a wonderful way with words, so must be a real asset in your poetry. Useful for Scrabble too! My dyslexic family member has a great breadth of word power but struggles to translate that on to the page. Nothing to do with brain power - it's just the different way minds can work.

  • Reverting to facts tends to take emotion out of the arguments for using plain English. We can all be 'word blind' to in-house jargon and acronyms, which is why user research and analytics are so important - showing what users actually search for vs what we think they 'should' look for.

  • The style guides I've used have tended to be more focused on use of corporate colours and fonts.

  • Instant visual feedback!

  • Thanks for sharing - neat little trick!

  • Have used paper to help sketch out the levels & progression of a user's website journey. Have used storyboards more for eLearning work - either Powerpoint, or Storyline so functionality can be tested.

  • Interesting, this version didn't break up the text as much as I did. It also used a couple of links that gives readers the option to click through for more explanation. I'd focused more on the formatting and editing than the functionality.

  • Seems they have done their research and chosen the best way to communicate necessary information to all types of users, including those with accessibility issues.

  • The first page gives a user an overview of the whole year, while the second gives the next few dates, so it depends what timespan the user is looking for. The layout of the 2nd site is clearer and less cluttered, but there needs to be an option for someone to view all holidays for a particular year.

  • Found the video & content both very useful. Some specific tips and the acknowledgement that there is often push and pull between the volume that companies/ departments want to publish, with all the bells and whistles, and what users actually need.

  • Google analytics and SEO research have been useful tools in the past. Not sure they give enough insight to assess accessibility, so it's helpful to learn about some of these other tools.

  • Have not done much user research, which was one of the reasons for taking this course. Interesting to see the different approaches you can use in-house or via third-parties, with concrete examples of how that might work in practice at different stages of the content development.

  • Think acronyms help if you are having to use repeatedly throughout a piece of information, as long as they are spelt out the first time.

  • Helps to have had an example to work through & see how your accessibility feedback compares.

  • Needs:
    * clearly marked-up headings (and more of them to separate content)
    * consistent format on instruction text 'Click here'
    * ways to break up the density of information, to make it clearer and linear
    * remove underlining (not helpful for dyslexics and adds to cluttered look)
    * use infographics or labelled images for examples of extra equipment

  • The posters demonstrate just how useful infographics are in putting large amounts of information across clearly & memorably.

  • Good point about the SEO - a side benefit to ensuring accessibility!

  • One simple check would be to make sure that all navigation/non-text content has a text alternative and does not rely soley on colour or images. That way content can be navigated and read by a screen reader.

  • Interesting points about building accessibility for those with temporary or situational issues. Had thought of accessibility more in terms of permanent needs prior to reading this.

  • @IanClare True, you even get contrast issues on videos, where text has been overlaid. Noticed visibility challenges with a few programmes lately.

  • Had not thought of that as an accessibility issue but makes sense. Thanks for that.

  • Dyslexic accessibility would be useful, given the number of people that suffer.

  • Have used Powerpoint and Storyline storyboards as a way of mapping out eLearning courses and identifying any gaps (visual or narrative), in the training.

  • @AgnieszkaMurdoch The cartoon in the linked article also put the idea of breaking into manageable chunks across well, with a simple visual.

  • It's done when the water has been added to the kettle and boiled
    It's done when the tea leaves or bag have been taken out of the cupboard and placed in the cup or teapot
    It's done when the boiling water has been added to the cup or teapot
    It's done when (if wanted) sugar or sweetener and/or milk have been added to the cup.

  • Looking at some examples, it is interesting to see how easy it is to slip into describing the solution...

  • Users in need of training, so they could be technical users, or task/policy focused. It could be job-specific technical learning e.g. car mechanisms, or company-level training e.g. mandatory training, how to access a firm's software systems to self-manage their employee or customer records.

  • Users in need of training. It could be job-specific technical learning e.g. car mechanisms, or company-level training e.g. how to access a firm's software systems to self-manage their employee or customer records.

  • Can see that my definitions might be too narrow. These make more sense in terms of people's journey and likely interactions with the content.

  • Reporters, Gov ministers (to develop relevant policies/determine resources), planners (forecasting infrastructure, education & housing needs), Local Government, teachers, students and the general public.

  • Think building and sustaining good relationships is probably key. It helps with understanding and is key to being able to react to fluid timelines/projects. If you don't know the answer then it helps to have contacts who might or who will assist you in getting there quicker.

  • Content designers need to work closely with SMEs (subject matter experts), proof readers/testers, content owners, technical support (to check that your 'great idea' is not incompatible or slows the user down to the point of abandoning an action/course).

  • Infographics, images with captions or numbers (linked to more detail), quizzes (to check learning and/or progress through a course). Hyperlinks (to urls, pdfs, emails).

  • Lots of new terms! Would be useful as a course 'takeaway' pdf.

  • Easy to get information overload when talking to in-house subject experts. What is important or interesting info to them isn't necessarily what users want to access first.

  • Sounds like you have lots of experience already in designing user-focused information & learning!