https://servicedesign.blog.essex.gov.uk/2019/07/19/weeknotes-15-19-july/

Weeknotes 15-19 July

After months of intense work and worry, essex.gov.uk has pretty much fully entered BAU mode.

It’s a funny feeling, like bidding adieu to an old friend. Luckily, we’ve got plenty to keep us busy.

User research

Georgiana and Ben have been looking at new ways of recruiting parents for user testing. This has included exploring internal channels like the intranet, newsletters and even informal chats.

They’ve also, bravely, gone straight to source and recruited 25 parents over the course of 5 Rhymetime sessions in the library.

Service patterns

Nic, Bhupinder, Ben and Georgiana, as well as our FutureGov friends Jenny and Ale, went through 44 different types of applications you can make across our web estate. They found that these were not consistent and some were difficult to complete.

Having noted what worked well and what didn’t with each, they’ve managed to pull together some user needs. Next week they’ll be deciding which ones to focus on, based on their insights.

This is such exciting work, delving deeper than we were able to in the essex.gov.uk project, but with the same aim of bringing user-focused services to all aspects of the council’s work.

Content

Collette’s been talking with tech services and service design colleagues about how we can work together to improve our online forms. This is fantastic, as it gives content and service design a great opportunity to work together.

She had a chat with Chris, about different ways we could use analytics to measure how our content is performing, and looked at how an automated content workflow might work.

She also had time to work on an accessible Word template for services to use. This is something that’s going to be huge if we’re going to meet our accessibility obligations.

Sheila and Hannah have been working on Trading Standards’ business advice content, looking at user needs, acceptance criteria and how these could influence how the pages are structured.

Excitingly, they also had a crack at pair writing. Hannah’s also been looking at some of the ‘apply’ service pattern work.

Sheila and I have booked in the second of our content design workshops, which we’re pretty excited about.

Service design

As well as the patterns work, Nic’s been preparing the Futures Academy for Leaders session, which went out on Wednesday. With FutureGov, we took a selection of ECC leaders on an experiential journey, exploring what it means to lead in a 21st century organisation. This looked at how we can think, plan and act differently, and got some really great feedback. We’re hoping there will be lots more in the future.

Team highlight

Since essex.gov.uk went live, it feels like we’ve all been working on lots of different things, so it was lovely to have a whole-team away day (even if it was more of a staycation in E block).

We talked a lot, laughed a lot and became strangely competitive building spaghetti towers.

It's great to be part of a team that's come through a lot together, and has a really clear view of where it wants to go.

Unlike the spaghetti towers, our foundations are rock solid.

 

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