PRODUCTHEAD: Content design

PRODUCTHEAD: Content design

PRODUCTHEAD is a regular newsletter of product management goodness,
curated by Jock Busuttil.

packt like products in a crushd tin box


Use the language of your audience

Easy-to-read content is accessible and inclusive

Content design can be done on a tight budget when needed

Even experts prefer plain language


Once you’ve had a content designer on your team, you’ll look back and wonder how you ever managed without them. This week I’ve pulled together some useful reading on content design or you.

Content is not just the words. It’s also the images and other visual elements conveying information on a page or screen. Content design comes from the idea that user research, content and design must all work together.

Sarah Winters (was Richards) championed content design as a crucial new role at the UK’s brand-new Government Digital Service back in 2011. Her team’s main task was to rewrite, edit and simplify hundreds of government websites into a single, simple and effective site.

Aside from the volume of work, the real challenge was to meet users’ needs as they did so.

This meant asking questions that had long been alien to UK government such as, “What do people need from government?” and “How can we make it easy for people to interact with government services?”

Whether building your product means writing words, creating user interfaces, shooting video or animating, you’ll benefit from having content designers in your team.

Speak to you soon,


what to think about this week

Pee and poo and the language of health

To make sure people understand health advice, the NHS (the UK’s National Health Service) has to provide clear information on sometimes uncomfortable topics. So this is an entirely serious article on the importance of ‘pee’ and ‘poo’.

Use the language your audience will understand


Dumbing down

If you make your content easy to read, you aren’t ‘dumbing down’, you are opening up your information to anyone who wants to read it. You are making it accessible. You are trying not to exclude people based on their education, cognitive function or reading ability.

Create content that respects your audience


Product management coaching

Whether you’re new to product management or have been a product manager for years, a coaching session can help you to step up your career.

We’ve coached people wanting to get into product management, product people with nobody in their organisation to manage them, and experienced product managers preparing to apply for a promotion.

A proportion of the fees from every coaching session is donated to charity. Just contact us if you’re interested in finding out more.

Pyjama-based content design

Newsflash: some companies don’t like spending money on content design.

In this video, Sarah Winters (was Richards) talks about low-cost ways to get a fairly good idea of how to prioritise content and structure while you are sitting at your kitchen table, with a cup of tea. Possibly while you’re still in your pyjamas.

No money for content design? No problem


Plain language is for everyone, even experts

In this 3-minute video, Hoa Loranger summarises her article of the same name.

Even professionals want clear, concise information devoid of unnecessary jargon or complex terms. Plain language benefits means readers spend more time understanding and less time deciphering.

Plain language is a necessity for all


recent posts

Growing together: developing and retaining your product team

34% of product managers surveyed said they left their previous role because there were no opportunities to grow.

In this video, Lucie McLean (Zalando) discusses growth and career progression for product managers with Jock Busuttil (Product People Limited) and Daniil Pavliuchkov (Tier).

Team coaching and career paths


Misunderstood metaphors: Product manager as conductor

Product managers are sometimes referred to as the conductor of the orchestra. Some people think that the conductor’s job is to direct the players, to lead them through the music. That would be to misunderstand the relationship. Instead, here’s a different take.

Conductors don’t tell the players what to do


The dirty little secrets of decision making

As individuals, we’re continually evaluating options and taking decisions. As product managers, we have the additional responsibility to balance the often competing needs of users, the business and wider ethical considerations. What makes one decision better than another?

How to make better decisions


upcoming talks and events

10th December 2020, 16:00 GMT / 10:00 CST

Shortlist virtual round table

Managing product managers

Let’s talk about measuring product manager performance, providing opportunities for career growth and the challenges of managing teams of product managers and product owners.

Our round table host will be Jock Busuttil – freelance head of product, author and speaker.

Register to attend

can we help you?

Product People is a product management services company. We can help you through consultancy, training and coaching. Just contact us if you need our help!

Product People Limited logo

Helping people build better products, more successfully, since 2012.

PRODUCTHEAD is a newsletter for product people of all varieties, and is lovingly crafted from strange and mysterious monologues.

Read more from Jock

The Practitioner's Guide to Product Management book cover

The Practitioner's Guide To Product Management

by Jock Busuttil

“This is a great book for Product Managers or those considering a career in Product Management.”

— Lyndsay Denton

Jock Busuttil is a product management and leadership coach, product leader and author. He has spent over two decades working with technology companies to improve their product management practices, from startups to multinationals. In 2012 Jock founded Product People Limited, which provides product management consultancy, coaching and training. Its clients include BBC, University of Cambridge, Ometria, Prolific and the UK’s Ministry of Justice and Government Digital Service (GDS). Jock holds a master’s degree in Classics from the University of Cambridge. He is the author of the popular book The Practitioner’s Guide To Product Management, which was published in January 2015 by Grand Central Publishing in the US and Piatkus in the UK. He writes the blog I Manage Products and weekly product management newsletter PRODUCTHEAD. You can find him on Mastodon, X (formerly Twitter) and LinkedIn.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *