I’m a contented content designer. Over the past few years, I’ve been a contractor with Kainos delivering clear, simple content for services in government.

What is the role of a contractor?

Controversially, I believe that a contractor’s role is to make ourselves obsolete. We join a team for a time to deliver the best we can, to sing the virtues of good design and to mentor those around us.

Delivering the best we can

In government, there are all sorts of teams; tiny to tremendous, ambitious to weary, single to multi-agency. There is one constant. Championing users in the din of policy, security and government requirements is hard.

Delivering journeys that users need and like is tough. Though it’s easier to create and release good content when you’re working with one company, like Kainos, as a delivery partner. It’s often more fun too. I love the Belfast craic too – the things I’ve learned!

Singing the virtues of good design

When I’m not crunching through tickets or observing a research lab, I’m indoctrinating, sorry chatting to team members, about the business benefits of user-centred content and design. It’s a personal passion. It’s an extra-curricular thing, but Kainos colleagues often join the crusade.

Whenever possible, Kainos deploys the triad model of good design – a researcher, interaction designer and content designer working together. It’s an effective, sociable way of designing the best for users – which is the best for government too.

Mentoring those around us

There are phenomenal content designers working at Kainos. My colleague Olivia Sharp has led the charge at HM Courts & Tribunals Service. My colleague Kaisa rocked the room with her presentation at the GDS content conference. And there’s many I haven’t yet met.

Contractor or perm, those of us with more years of experience than we’ll ever admit must pass the baton on. I’ve worked with some really inspiring civil servants who, after working with Kainos design teams, have become fully-fledged, HTML-writing, github-loving content designers.

When product and policy teams start talking about evidencing the problem before creating reams of content for users, you can leave the project with a smile. These are the skilled people we have a duty to leave behind, the people who’ll make ‘business as usual’ better.