Hello! It’s the end of the year and what a year it has been. I’m glad I started writing weeknotes sometime in July and stuck with it.
I’m also incredibly proud of what my team has achieved this year and so blessed to have the opportunity to work with such amazing people on GOV.UK
I am now off till the new year. Here are the highlights of my last 2 weeks (5 working days)
5 things that happened
One – We published “How we made GOV.UK more accessible”
I’ve mentioned a few times that I’ve been working on a blog post talking about how we made GOV.UK accessible. It has now been published!
GOV.UK hosts half a million web pages, lots of documents and receives an average of 5.1 million visits a day, that’s huge. The blog post talks about how we made it more accessible, the challenges we faced and lessons learnt.
It feels a little like a very condensed version of my weeknotes over the last 6 months. Please read it over a cup of tea if you get a chance.
Two – Research Interviews to understand how we got here
I spent 2 days talking to people from different disciplines across the GOV.UK program asking general questions about their work and accessibility
The aim is to understand why some parts of GOV.UK were not accessible enough and use that to identify which strategies to focus on to help GOV.UK remain accessible.
Craig (our delivery manager) and I talked to about 12 people in total and other people in the team joined to take detailed notes that we will analyse next year.
I quite enjoyed the discussions and learnt a lot so I’m already excited about the analysis and next steps. A user researcher for a different team has also volunteered to help with the analysis so yay!
Doing research interviews is very much a stretch for a delivery manager’s role and I feel so grateful for having such an amazing delivery manager who does his job so well and also goes above and beyond to help in many ways.
Three – Chrome profiles for accessibility personas
We had a training session on how to have the 7 personas that highlight the common barriers users with accessibility needs face as “chrome profiles”. This means that people can log in as those profiles and see a simulation of how one of those personas might experience the page. For example: For someone who uses magnification and custom colours, the pages automatically take on those qualities.
It was a very enlightening experience and I’ve heard people and teams talk about it since. It does seem like the way to make the impact of inaccessible things obvious is to show (not just tell) what the experience is like for people.
Four – Conversations about Content Strategy and Publishing
I had more publishing-related conversations.
Our little working group that has been thinking about how the content strategy (and GOV.UK’s future plans) might affect the work we plan to do on publishing. I also did some reading about the direction of travel so far on the content strategy. The current scope is quite huge.
We’ve decided to deep dive into the main themes that get talked about a lot (for example, structured information), and write down what we know about them – definitions, how it’s been adopted already, why GOV.UK is interested in them and specific problems we want them to solve, general approaches in the industry.
This will help us map them to the work we have planned for publishing and know what’s already true or what needs to be true in the future for those outcomes to be a reality.
Five – How much do you know people in your team Christmas Fika
To celebrate the end of the year, our team had a Christmas themed Fika!
We put on something Christmassy. Rosa, a content designer on my team collected personal information from all of us beforehand and planned a quiz where we won points for correctly guessing who each question was about.
It was a lot of fun and a brilliant way to wrap up the year. I also learnt that I’ve probably had the least fun experiences in my team.
What I wish I could have changed
We’ve been having a few questions from departments who need help or more guidance on how to make things accessible, which the content designers and I have been responding to.
Our current process for doing this is a mix of zendesk and google groups. It might need some improvement so it’s easier to identify emerging themes and areas where we don’t currently have the answers but might need to do an investigation so we can improve our guidance. We also need a clearer workflow for answering them.
This is within our power to change of course so we’ll do that in the new year
What I’m looking forward to in the next working week
With most people off over the holidays, we planned a really long sprint which gives us some time at the beginning of January to have some kick off activities.
We spent some time this week planning how we want to start the next quarter in January, what team activities we want to have to make sure we all have a shared understanding of what we can achieve in the quarter and bond as a team.
I’m looking forward to that.
On a personal note
I’m grateful to be here at the end of 2020.
I’ve been a little sad because my plans for Christmas has changed significantly but I’m now looking forward to celebrating, spending time with my husband and son and stuffing myself with all things yummy.
I hope your Christmas and the new year is wonderful in every way.