Weeknotes Monday 14 Nov - Sunday 20 Nov 2022
Quite a busy week, some of the things I got up to were:
Began creating designs in a coded prototype that will help my department (DLUHC) to give feedback to local authorities about the planning data they publish.
Ran a workshop during Design System Day 2022.
I created a Sharepoint site (shudder) within the department’s Office 365 account for the User Centred Community that Annie Crabtree and myself have been orgainsing and faciliating.
I would love to use Notion or one of the many other much better apps but not being officially sanctioned they would require user management, probably have to go through some cyber, data and privacy impact assessment and assurance as well cost money.
This hill was not one Annie or I wanted to die on.
Creating a Sharepoint site gave us a dedicated group, a ‘Teams’ chat-room, a shared calendar and a place to store documents and artefacts.
Whilst I was creating the Sharepoint site I decided to go one step further and create a Microsoft Form for people to be able to sign up to the community. Hopefully that makes it easier to share internally and for us to manage.
Worked with Lee Murray (our head of Digital Delivery) to procure a number of licenses for Figma, Lee has done all the work. His persistence and knowledge of writing business cases means it is almost over the line. This sort of thing should be easier in 2022.
Ran my first 5K without major pain - Got utterly soaked when running along a newly opened bypass next to the M62 Motorway. I needed to get out and do something.
Finally on Sunday I ran the Bury 10K event event which had been postponed three times because of Covid and the death of her majesty the queen.
I ran this 10K route with the time 1:11:45 which I was pleased with considering my injury and lack of running all year. I hate these photos but they are a big motivator for the weightloss journey I’m starting.
- Paul Downey talks to Digital Leaders about planning.data.gov.uk - My brilliant boss talking to camera about our work for the Digital Leaders conference.
- The People’s Piazza: A History of Covent Garden - the story of London’s Covent Garden.
- Next-level playground - A World-Class Code Playground with Sandpack
- Inclusive design resources - A collection of posts and guides about inclusive design.
So last week and at rather short notice, I offered to facilitate a workshop for this year’s Design System Day.
In this extended weeknotes, mainly to get it out of my head, I write about how it went.
Tim Paul tweeted that if you wanted to attend the event but missed out on a ticket, running a workshop got you in and also helped them out because for various reason some planned workshops were no longer able to go ahead.
Enthused and without thinking I fired a message to Tim and offered to throw my hat into the ring.
Oh 💩 I now thought to myself… I’ve got to write a talk, plan a workshop, create some slides or some form of artefacts and generally do a whole big bunch of work to be prepped for facilitating a remote event.
Between that moment and the opening keynote I had a total of 5.5 days, two of which I had solid plans for!
I gave a presentation casestudy about how myself and the team I worked with at Well Pharamcy spent a lot of time carefully convincing and selling stakeholders on the often overlooked value of service and user experience design (including the use of a design system).
I tried to make the point that talking about good design, consistent design and even efficiency gains often fails to cut through. Busy people without an interest in design or much thought for user experience often don’t engage well with those arguments.
Talking about the benefits of inclusive design, progressive enhancement and accessibility in terms of attracting more customers, staying on the right side of the law and doing better than the competition gets people’s attention.
Not as I’d hoped. I managed to put together a talk and a workshop but it was a rush and I felt it showed.
Knowing it was rushed, not rehersed and no opportunity to get feedback about it. I felt like I was flying blind.
During my talk, internally I was so intensly panicked that I suffered globus pharyngeus (I think) and had to fight to be able to speak.
I got through the presentation and moved onto a sort of 1-2-4-all style session of discussion. I asked the following questions:
- What tangible benefits has a design system given you or your team?
- How do design systems help products and services to be more accessible and inclusive? (or less thinking of Amy’s talk)
- How and when can you highlight the benefits of a design system to colleagues and stakeholders?
It’s been a few days now and having digested how it went, I guess it was fine, not an utter disaster (as it initially felt) but it just wasn’t great.
That I’m still quite impulsive when it comes to things I’m interested in or passionate about. Think before acting Paul!
I relearned that when crafting any presentation (particularly one at short notice), less is more. Stick to the point, ideally just one.
Presenting and facilitating is not like riding a bike. They are both difficult skills that should be practiced regularly. I scraped by with the help of Tim Paul, Nora and others.
Presenting and facilitating to a faceless camera is wildly different than when doing it in person to real people all together in the same room. It’s also very different at an event with people you don’t know and who don’t know you.
That I do not like the Zoom Events Platform.
To try not to be so hard on myself next time.