Weeknote 10

Wrestling with and finishing a tricky article, working with the cross-government community and the unfortunate consequences of leaving my phone in an Uber, in weeknote 10.

What went well

I pretty much finished an article

After a week of faffing with it, and seeking feedback from a number of people I trust, I’ve just about finished with my article on inclusive communication.

I’ll probably give myself a couple more days to tweak it and then publish early next week.

It’s been a tricky one to write actually. Normally, by the time I sit down to write an article, I’ve been thinking about it for so long that the words just come pouring out. But this one has been much harder, and I’ve had to plug away at it most days for a couple of weeks. I did pretty much a complete rewrite of my first draft which was uncharacteristically ranty.

The version I’ve got now is much more constructive and toned down, and generally feels more “me”.

Community contribution to the Design System

We’ve been having a lot of discussions lately about how we can make it easier to contribute to the GOV.UK Design System. We want to look at how to improve our guidelines to help people do more with less support from us, and how we can lower the barrier so that people can contribute in more manageable ways.

There’s lots we can do to make it better, but in the past week:

  • we’ve published smaller versions of radios and checkboxes contributed by Mike from the Home Office
  • Sara, Head of Content at Home Office has edited guidance on some new button styles we’re hoping to publish soon
  • I’ve continued work with Frankie and Nadia on a pattern for asking users about ethnicity, and met with Dan from Universal Credit to hear about how they ask the question within their service, and why

I know there’s been plenty more community contribution going on as well, that I haven’t been directly involved with.

There’s definitely room for improvement, but for now I’m taking a quick sec to feel incredibly proud of the Design System and the community we’re building together.

Other things I liked

What didn’t go so well

I left my phone in an Uber on Thursday night, and am still trying to establish whether or not the driver has it, before I can even begin to work out how to get it back or get a replacement.

Being phoneless for over 24 hours now has been an experience, to say the least. Even trying to report the problem and contact the driver are things that, seemingly, Uber requires you to have a phone to do. I’ve been able to use James’ to a point, but to contact the driver and log in to my account requires 2-step verification which means having a text sent to my phone.

Infuriatingly, despite knowing my situation, in every piece of correspondence Uber has sent me about it, they’ve advised that I keep trying to contact the driver in the meantime.

It’s been a real “what not to do” style lesson in service design, and how quickly things can fall down if you find yourself outside of the typical user group.

On the bright side, I went for a long country walk and a pub lunch with my family yesterday and it was nice to be present and not distracted by my phone. This might encourage me to put it down a little more, when I get it back.

Lessons this week

  1. It’s worth persevering with challenging articles (sometimes).
  2. The Design System community is amazing.
  3. Uber’s lost property service is not built for phone loss.