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Foreword by Gerry McGovern

The Core Model puts people first and thus it is contrary to a lot of traditional management thinking, hierarchy, and top-down models. It’s about helping you discover and evolve strategy based on what is important to your customers, citizens, and employees. It will help you design better services by first and foremost getting a crystal-clear understanding of what people want to do. It marries organizational goals with the tasks people need to complete.

If you’ve been involved in creating digital products for a while, you will immediately understand the challenges this book seeks to address. It gives you methods to overcome organizational ego and departmental silo thinking. It facilitates the creation of websites, apps, and services where it’s genuinely easy for people to find and complete their top tasks.

The Core Model was developed by Are Halland, a Norwegian with vast experience of building successful websites and digital products. He precisely pinpoints the causes of poor performance: complex functionality that nobody needs or understands; bloating, rotting content that nobody even remembers publishing anymore; navigation that would confuse Sherlock Holmes; and obsession with ego monstrosity homepages. These are truly universal challenges.

The solution that Are Halland presents is as simple as it is radical: put people first. Design from the perspective of the usertask, not from the organizational need. Radical. Hard. Essential. Design outwards from what matters most to the user, while making sure that these tasks align with organizational goals. Relentlessly focus on the core, rather than getting caught up in the comfortable but often low value pursuits of pushing out meaningless features and migrating vast quantities of rotten content.

Start from the task, the essence of the thing. Discover the user journeys / paths to the task. Where do they start? At Google? What words do they use? Design those inwards paths. Then, the forward paths. Where should the task lead them? Where do they go forward to? A purchase process? A phone call to a doctor? Filling out an application form? No core is an island. It must have inward and forward paths.

Multidisciplinary design. So utterly essential today. The Core Model is all about that. Bringing together all the interested disciplines and functions to integrate user tasks and organizational goals. Because there is no other way if you want to deliver a quality experience. Seamless, multi-channel, whatever device is closest. If you want
to make it truly easy for the people, you must bridge the silos within your organization, and the core model truly helps you to do that.

This is a book for pioneers. For those who want to make a difference, to make things better for people and the organization. It challenges traditional management attitudes. So, it’s a dangerous book. You could get into trouble reading it. And much more trouble trying to implement the ideas within it. Some trouble is worth it
But if you’re tired of the old model because you know that it just doesn’t work anymore, this is the book for you. If you’re tired of unfocused products, vanity content, pointless redesigns, and ego-bloated homepages, this is the book for you.

And don’t get carried away by the latest magical offerings from AI. It’s powerful, for sure, but without structure, without lots and lots of training, with constant refinement by experts, without solid, thoroughly thought through information architecture, classification and metadata, AI is yet another garbage-in, garbage-out,cheap content production, cost-cutting mirage. Quality content still costs time and effort by experts. And quality content cannot exist without a quality core structure.

The Core Model gives you that. The Core Model works. You’ll find the evidence here. But more important, you’ll find the methods for creating digital products and services that help organizations succeed by putting people first.

Gerry McGovern

Read more about the book here


Gerry McGovern is the inventor of Top Task Management and has written eight books on digital content, top task methodology, and digital transformation. His latest book, World Wide Waste, is a showdown with digital waste culture and meaningless publication online.

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