Weeknote 13

What went well

Sending out our diversity and inclusivity survey

I’ve been working with Daisy, our analyst, and Rosie our user researcher on trying to improve diversity and inclusivity within the Design System community—that is: our team, people who contribute to the Design System and those who use our public and semi-public discussion spaces, like our Slack channels and GitHub repos.

We want to understand more about the community of people using and contributing the Design System, the barriers they might face, and how we can better support them.

This week, we sent out a survey to explore this and already the responses have been eye-opening. This is really important work, so I’m pleased to have taken a significant step on it this week.

Making progress on my Patterns Day talk

It’s only a few weeks until I’m speaking at Patterns Day and on Tuesday I had a catch up with Jeremy, who’s organising the event, to go over my talk and some practical details for the day.

The catch up was a catalyst for me to knuckle down and start getting my thoughts together around it, and I’m really pleased with how it’s shaping up. Thank you to Adam, Dave, Ignacia and Tim for letting me harp on about it and helping get my head straight. What would I do without you all?

Knowledge sharing

It’s been one of those weeks where I’ve had a colossal number of back-to-back 30-minute meetings, peaking on Wednesday afternoon. It’s been kinda hectic, but most of my chats have been along the lines of “Hey, we’re working on a similar thing to you, what can we learn from each other?”.

I met with Molly and Jen from HMCTS, to talk about some work they’re doing on how to ask about protected characteristics. This overlaps with the work I’ve been doing with the Race Disparity Unit on how to ask users for their ethnic groups. We didn’t get nearly long enough to talk, but I’m glad we’ve started the conversation.

On Wednesday, we had a visit from Noelle, a designer from the Ontario Digital Service, who came in to talk design systems and introduced me to Miro a piece of collaborative software which, as well as being totally mindblowing, looks incredibly useful. I’ll definitely be having a play around with it in the next few days.

Finally, on Friday, I met with Richard Pope to talk collaboration and community-building in large organisations. Richard’s putting together a playbook for the Harvard-Kennedy school on government platforms, and wanted to chat about establishing contribution and encourage adoption within the government community. He asked me a bunch of thought-provoking questions like “When do you need a mandate?” and “What does the perfect open-source project look like?”. I gave answers, but I’ve since come up with approximately 10,000 better ones. C’est la vie.

Other things I liked

  • A team lunch at Yuu Kitchen on Daisy’s recommendation—good to get away from the office for an hour, extra good to eat bao, sticky aubergine and fried okra. If you’re in the Spitalfields area, I urge you to give it a go.
  • Mike publishing his article on algorthims which I edited for him a while back. It’s one of the articles on his website, How Do which aims to help kids learn about science, technology, engineering and maths. It’s a really nice, worthwhile project that I always enjoy helping out with.

What didn’t go so well

I’ve been pretty stressed with some personal stuff, and I’ve been kind of irritable and emotional this week, which hasn’t been fun. I’ve not been the nicest person to some of the people I care about, and I feel bad about it.

The long weekend has been a nice opportunity to have some downtime and reset, ready to start afresh next week.

Lessons this week

  1. People face all kinds of barriers you can’t even imagine. Give them the opportunity to tell you about them.
  2. Knowledge-sharing is always a good use of time.
  3. Being kind to myself and others is the most important thing.