How to improve your job stories

Job story format: When [_] I want to [_] so that [_]

This month’s digital design digest features a couple of articles about getting the most out of job stories. Plus, promising news from the world of CSS, how the Guardian is increasing its subscriber numbers, and where government goes wrong with digital transformation.

As always, for all these links and more along these lines, follow me on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.

5 tips for writing a job story

In UX circles, there is more and more talk about jobs to be done, a helpful method for thinking about how your products can best meet your users’ needs.

This month, two links about job stories — a core jobs to be done technique — caught the attention of my followers on social media. Both talk about how having clear detail in your job stories can help lead you to design better solutions.

Let’s compare:

  1. When I want something to eat….
  2. When I’m in a rush and want a something to eat….
  3. When I’m in a rush, I’m starving and want something to eat….
  4. When I’m in a rush, starving, need something I can eat with one hand while ‘on the go’, am not sure when the next time I’ll be able to eat, …

The more context we have for the situation, the better I can design a solution. In version #1, a sit down restaurant will work. In version #4, perhaps a slice of pizza or snickers bar will work best.

Your job story needs a struggling moment

…customers hit roadblocks during their journey to become a better version of themselves. These struggling moments are what cause them to reach for a solution…and they belong in your Job Stories.

The end of the clearfix hack?

It makes CSS developers feel icky every time they use the clearfix hack, but often there is no way round it. The clearfix hack forces an element to clear its children, so that sub-elements don’t visually hang off the edge of their parents with ugly results.

At present, there is no ‘proper’ way in CSS to prevent this from happening, hence the need for a hack.

Rachel Andrew highlighted a new feature of CSS that has made its way into the latest developer versions of Chrome and Firefox, hopefully stopping us from needing to use such hacks in future.

Road to 1 million: The Guardian has gone from 15,000 to 200,000 paying ‘members’ in the past year

It is no secret that the Guardian has been struggling financially in recent years. Determined to maintain its strategy of keeping its content available for all to read online free of charge, the paper has been pursuing a membership scheme to help make ends meet.

But what makes this story interesting is not the business model, but the way the Guardian has set about maximising membership revenues by testing different messages to users.

The publisher got to 200,000 after testing 30 different messages, with each altering the length and pitch of the messages and their placements on the site.

One early message drew on the Guardian’s history: “From phone hacking to the Panama Papers and Peterloo, we’ve been there: breaking stories for almost 200 years. Contribute to the Guardian today.”

This message drove up the average amount given in one-off donations but didn’t do so well driving memberships.

Digital is making government redundant

Gerry McGovern is one of my favourite writers on digital. He has a refreshingly no-nonsense approach to telling big organisations harsh truths. In this article, his attention turns to government. But it is a story you could apply to any organisation that’s still burying its head in the sand about the digital era.

Is government capable of dealing with digital transformation? Government just assumes it can continue being the same old government. That’s a dangerous, lazy assumption.

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