Case study: South Island Child

South Island Child is an Early Years Centre provincial initiative website which connects child caregivers— parents, grandparents, doctors, social workers, foster parents, and other care providers— to services and events throughout Southern Vancouver Island.

We were led by the proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” The unusual animated logo symbolizes a child with parents, teachers, and care providers moving toward and around the child. The logo remains subtly animated throughout the user’s visit, symbolizing the constant shift and movement between roles of care providers and the relentless attention we pay to children within our care.

Discovering our users

Through a discovery process with community stakeholders, we learned that some users of the website might have low literacy skills. They might be elderly, new to the English language, or they might just be young or new parents who aren’t familiar with certain vocabulary. It was extremely important that the language used on the website would be easy to understand.

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Our company’s first racist rejection letter

I’m trying to establish a better morning routine than checking my email almost immediately upon waking, but this morning I was sleepy, up a little earlier than usual to tie my son’s high-school-graduation-photo tie and make him breakfast, and operating by habit.

I picked up my iPhone and checked my email from bed. A rejection message caught my eye. I had recently applied through a popular service-to-client matching freelance site to help a real estate company with their website. The rejection said,

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“Natasha, I will not be using your company. I think that it’s lamentable that you would feel the need to bring up race in your profile description.”

Unable to recall what I wrote in our profile so long ago, I gave Mr. King the benefit of the doubt. Did I write something ambiguous about race (weird— I loathe ambiguity in communication)? Did I misspell something or misstate something? My heart caught in my throat as I feared that I may have been accidentally hurting people of colour for months through poor writing.

Eventually, after mining through poor UX design, I found the link that would let me read my profile description. I sighed and shook my head.

What lamentatious thing did I say?

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After the Women’s March: How businesses should & can get political

It’s time for businesses to get political.

It’s intimidating, we know. When your business supports your family, you don’t want to offend any potential client or customer. Taking care of the planet and our own communities is important, but our first responsibilities are to ourselves and our children, after all. You cannot give what you don’t have.

But, 1. you don’t need to have everything in order before you can give something, and 2. hopefully, you don’t live in a disproportionately liberal or conservative community such that making your politics known could cause you to lose most of your clientele. The idea of getting political where it matters is that any customers you lose, you can gain back by attracting more of your natural tribe to you. It’s like niche marketing. The reality is that if you’re trying to appeal to everyone, you’re already not overly appealing to anyone.



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