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Kate Saul and Andre Francisco work at 18F, an internal government agency that helps other federal agencies improve their digital services, including web content. Soon after the agency's founding they discovered that they would benefit from having a reference guide - the 18F Content Guide - for both their organization and their clients. We talked about: Andre and Kate's backgrounds the origins in 2015 of the 18F Content Guide - driven by their need for a standardized resource for their team how their content guide serves as a "ready-to-go" resource for their clients, as a template for their clients' guides how clients adapt and customize the manual for their needs the content guide's adoption beyond federal government websites the composition of their team at 18F, and the group of them who created the content guide the "Content Guild," an internal working group that offers content guidance to the rest of the organization and maintains the guide how frequently they update the guide (approx. monthly) the organizational structure of 18F and how it fits in the GSA how well-followed their content guide is (pretty well) the benefits of their "co-design" process, involving collaborators of all kinds from day one in all parts of their process gets buy-in streamlines and accelerates their process how there is no "typical" project in their portfolio how scope change from project to project while principles remain the same their belief that "involving content from the start is a really great way to go" how they work with stakeholders to organically uncover the right solution the role of research throughout their content strategy process highlighter testing, for example, having users highlight paper print-outs of content to let readers show how clear they find the content how their focus on cross-functionality and drawing together folks coming from different backgrounds creates an awesome team about 18F's huge number of open-source resources, including: more than 1,000 repositories at GitHub their collection of technical guides Kate's Bio Kate Garklavs Saul is a content team lead at 18F, where she helps federal agencies with strategic planning and crafting impactful, user-centered content. She has worked on my.uscis.gov, standards.usa.gov, usaspending.gov, and more. A longtime lover of language, Kate earned her MFA in fiction writing from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and had her first chapbook ("Diffusely Yours") published in August 2018. Before joining 18F, she led editorial and education strategy at Scripted.com, and also designed online fine arts coursework. Find her on Twitter as @ueberkatester. Andre's Bio Andre Francisco is the Acting Director of Outreach at 18F, helping the federal consulting office better communicate with other federal agencies. A graduate of Northwestern University, he’s previously worked at a government reform non-profit and as an English teacher. Video Here's the video version of our conversation: https://youtu.be/uuJnYkJyBJ0 Transcript Larry: Hi everyone. Welcome to Episode number 32 of the Content Strategy Interviews Podcast. I'm really happy today to have with us Andre Franciso and Kate Saul. Andre is the head of outreach at 18F. It's a digital... I'll let them describe it. I understand 18F to be sort of like a digital services company within the Government Services Administration and the US Government. And his college, Kate, Kate Saul, is a content strategist there. And I what I want to talk to them about today is the content guide that they created there. But first I want to let Andre and Kate talk a little bit more about each of their backgrounds. So whichever one of you wants to go first. Andre: Yeah, I'll start. So this is my first government job, which is common at 18F, before this I was at a government reform non-profit actually that kind of talked about ways to improve...

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