Immersive content design at the DTA

Content design secondees Leanda Kitchen, Katina Manley and Carly Summerell tell us about their experience at the DTA. 

Three people standing in front of large glass doors in a lift foyer.
Caption: Content design secondees (from left) Katina Manley, Carly Summerell and Leanda Kitchen

Joining the DTA

Earlier this year we took up the opportunity to go on secondment to the DTA. It was a chance to learn agile and improve our content design skills.

The DTA had a goal to update and migrate its guidance content. This opened an opportunity for new content designers to join the guidance team.

Before we started, we got an onboarding email with information about the DTA and the team we were about to join. This was a useful introduction to what to expect — a supportive environment where people work in the open.

Our project

We are editing, writing and migrating content to create a seamless user experience at dta.gov.au.

We’re now halfway through our secondment. It’s been a steep learning curve designing content using an agile methodology. We’ve already had some wins. These include:

  • writing, rewriting and migrating 54 pages of content in 4 sprints
  • doing user research to test the content we helped design
  • working with subject experts across the DTA to design useful content for our users
  • learning to use a content management system
  • working on video content

New content delivery process

To achieve all of this, our team created a new rapid content delivery workflow. This involves taking a user story from our backlog to publication in a 2-week sprint.

We meet regularly to work together on content. One of the main ways we do this is through our ‘content basecamps’. These are workshops where we focus on getting content to ‘done’.

Content basecamps include group writing with subject experts, who are embedded in our team for a sprint. We also brainstorm, critique and review content.

The feedback on our process has been excellent. Subject experts have commented on how quickly high-quality content is produced. Other teams have adapted our approach for their own content development.

Updated guidance

We’ve worked on guidance about cloud in government, managing teams, digital roles and user research. We focus on user needs by always having the user story front and centre.

We’re participating in a fortnightly content guild where we talk about the challenges and triumphs of our craft. We are enjoying sharing ideas and experiences across the board. It has been rewarding working with other secondees and ongoing DTA colleagues.

There’s been space and support to learn new skills while sharing practical experiences from 3 different home agencies.

Take the secondment opportunity

If you get the chance to join the team on secondment here, take it. It was a little scary stepping into this world at first, but the skills we’re learning are invaluable.

Thank you to everyone at the DTA for giving us this opportunity. Thanks to our home agencies for supporting us to come and learn. We’re looking forward to sharing what we’ve learnt when we return.

Leanda Kitchen, Katina Manley and Carly Summerell are content designers on secondment with the DTA guidance team