Deutsche Telekom was formerly a state-owned phone company. It went private, and today Telekom, including T-Mobile serves nearly 300 million customers.
This success had a downside: Telekom’s user experience was a patchwork of many different approaches. I was in the team that redefined Telekom's user experience.
My responsibility: Defining the language experience.
With an audience of 300 million, you better do your homework.
I studied existing guidelines, books, and research material to crystallize common themes and identify what was most relevant for our customers.
With a ton of research and a host of new approaches, I defined the information architecture.
There were several information architecture options for our writing style guide. Due to my non-disclosure agreement, I can’t reveal which one has proven to be the most effective. But have a look at some of the approaches I found.
The actual writing came easily after all that research and structuring. Too easily, it turns out, as the feedback from the steering committee illustrates:
“Thank you for your work! Now cut out 90% so we'll actually read it.”
And they were right. User testing with our editors confirmed that more concise guidelines were a lot easier to understand and remember.
Telekom’s research team tested our guidelines in the UK, Germany, and Poland.
The conclusion: Copy that followed the guidelines was more understandable, easier to remember, and loved by all.
Stakeholder buy-in meetings started during testing – from brand management to product development, communications to sales, different locations and different departments.
I met with people throughout the company to ensure I had covered all the bases, and that they were on board with the guidelines.
Training started early on. That way I had yet another source of feedback to ensure the guidelines were user-friendly. Additionally, the editors felt involved in the process, which helps with overall acceptance.
I make my training sessions hands-on and interactive because the more senses we activate, the easier it is to learn and remember.
A company that grew with incredible speed to incredible size needed direction for all their writing.
Today, editors around the world have a clear and easy-to-follow compass to create content. All thanks to my guidelines.