When thinking about the G-Cloud & Digital Services frameworks and encouraging people to use them we have to think in terms of discover, learn, and buy. Language is going to play an important part in that.
Our user research, build, and design work are not just concerned with understanding the usability of an online store nor is it solely concerned with making search faster, it is also very concerned with the language we use to describe, find, and compare the products available in the store.
Looking at how to describe the catalogue of products and services available under G-Cloud and Digital Services framework (DSf) there are two things we need to consider.
Who knows what?
From my previous blog post about who we understand our users to be, we have two sets of users who need an extra hand when it comes to buying or selling. One set of buyers whose technical knowledge and experience is limited and we have a set of suppliers who may not have marketing skills. Usually, it’s the marketing function within a company that looks at how products can be best described to be understood by the intended audience.
Like many other online stores, both the existing CloudStore and the work on the Alpha assume that people will want to browse or search in order to find thing that they want to buy.
Can it or should it assume that everyone understands what they are looking for?
Do we know what cloud is?
We have to remember that Cloud technologies, while very familiar to many of us are still quite new to others. We need to understand how and why a limited technical experience will affect a users’ attitude to the G-Cloud catalogue. Consumer electronics may well be teaching us that we can store our pictures in the cloud but does it follow that our buyers understand why cloud technologies might be the right choice for a local authority? For example, what does a local authority considering using the cloud for document storage worry about? What should they be worried about? And what’s that called anyway? Storage? Hosting? And, what does Compute mean? Is there a non-cloud version of compute? Isn’t that just a computer or two?
We’ve set up a stream of work to look into understanding and answering the questions around language and what action we, as a team, need to take.