https://servicedesign.blog.essex.gov.uk/2019/08/23/weeknotes-19-23-august/

Weeknotes 19-23 August

This week we’ve had time to come together to discuss some of the exciting things we've been working on, as well as honing our skills for the tasks ahead.

Product

Helen’s been sharpening her product skills with GDS this week, at a three-day training event.

Service patterns

Bhupinder’s also been honing her skills with GDS at their ‘Service Design in Practice’ training course. There were some great opportunities for networking and collaboration, as well as getting to grips with some useful service design testing tools in a safe environment.

We got the whole team together for an ideation session on the ‘apply for something’ service pattern. We used our collective experience to tease out pain points in these journeys and have a think about how we can bring elements of service patterns, content standards and the Design System.

It was great to bounce ideas off each other, and break down the barriers between disciplines.

Georgiana, Jenny and Nic chatted over the session and synthesised the feedback.

User research

Georgiana and Magda have been writing up the outputs from their user interviews with parents who might use the home-to-school transport application and childcare provider finder app. They’ve been thinking about how to collate these insights collaboratively, which is exciting.

Georgiana’s also been looking at more ways to recruit for future user testing. She’s finding that with each week she’s getting more helpful suggestions from around the organisations about how to tap into particular groups. This isn’t just useful for testing, it also shows that people are grasping how important testing with users is.

Content

Sheila’s been working on some guidance for colleagues on how to produce accessible documents. This is huge. We know that there are some parts of the organisation that rely on documents, but who are unwittingly excluding certain users by not making them accessible.

She’s also been updating some of the content guidance in the Service Design Toolkit, and getting ready for our visit from Gavin next month.

Caroline M and I delivered the content design workshop with a really engaged group from libraries. They grasped user needs and content standards really quick and were totally open to trying new ways of working.

Caroline’s also been delving into some accessibility issues on our microsites, and looking how Siteimprove, could deliver training to help with this.

I’ve mainly been focused on helping the Blue Badge team with a new application form.

Collette’s kicked off the process for recruiting her replacement, before she goes on maternity leave in October. She’s also been thinking about how to structure the content section of the Service Design Toolkit, which will include our content strategy and guides to writing good content, as well as talking to the content team in Comms about how to promote good content.

Both of these things feed into creating an environment across the organisation, where it’s second nature to produce good content.

Team highlight

Contrary to popular belief, we don’t communicate solely through post-it notes in Service Design.

With both the end of sprint retro and a cross-team ideation session falling this week, we’ve done a lot of talking. Good talking. We’ve been honest about what we’d like to change, and equally bold about what’s been working well.

That’s the kind of thing that can only happen in good teams. Just sayin’.

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