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10 things I learnt from 2 years at the Government Digital Service

Tom Byers
August 24, 2014

10 things I learnt from 2 years at the Government Digital Service

A talk about the top 10 things learnt from working on a website that changes every day, is constantly growing and has to work for everyone in the UK.

A text-only version is available at https://github.com/tombye/redevelop-2014-presentation.

Tom Byers

August 24, 2014
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Transcript

  1. Tom Byers

    Front-end Lead 

    Government Digital Service

    @tombaromba

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  2. 10 things
    GDS
    Tom

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  3. I’m from the
    Government Digital
    Service
    GDS
    Tom

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  4. We’re a team at the heart of government
    building digital public services
    GDS
    Tom

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  5. We started by
    building GOV.UK
    GDS
    Tom

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  6. We’re now transforming government services
    GDS
    Tom

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  7. GDS
    25 of government’s
    biggest services
    redesigned to meet
    the needs of users
    Tom

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  8. To do that we’re working with digital teams in
    departments all over the country...
    GDS
    Tom

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  9. As well as building common tools for analytics and
    signing in, improving the way government buys
    technology, and making sure civil servants have the
    right skills to run digital by default services
    GDS
    Tom

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  10. We work in open, agile,
    multidisciplinary teams,
    relentlessly focused on
    user needs
    GDS
    Tom

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  11. 1. Think about access first
    GDS
    Tom

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  12. How do they get to your content?
    GDS
    Tom

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  13. 2. Learn the tools your users have
    GDS
    Tom

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  14. How do they use their machines?
    GDS
    Tom

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  15. GDS
    Tom
    1 2
    4
    3
    5
    6
    7
    9
    8

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  16. GDS
    Tom
    1 2 3 4
    5 6 7 8
    9 10 11 12
    13 14 15 16
    17 18 19 20

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  17. 3. Your design is a tool too
    GDS
    Tom

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  18. How easy does your page design
    make it to access your
    information?
    GDS
    Tom

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  19. “The web is, by its nature,
    stateless so your design needs to
    give users some context”
    !
    @markhurrell
    GDS
    Tom

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  20. 4. Don’t ask bad questions
    GDS
    Tom

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  21. GDS
    Tom GDS
    Tom

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  22. Does your form work as a
    conversation?
    !
    @cjforms
    GDS
    Tom

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  23. Don’t underestimate how hard a
    single task can be
    !
    Think about someone with no prior
    experience of websites using your
    forms
    GDS
    Tom

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  24. 5. Tasks cannot be too simple
    GDS
    Tom

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  25. 6. Text is the primary visual
    interface
    GDS
    Tom

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  26. https://www.gov.uk/service-manual
    GDS
    Tom

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  27. https://www.gov.uk/service-manual/user-centred-
    design/how-users-read
    GDS
    Tom

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  28. “Users only really read 20 to 28%
    of a web page”
    GDS
    Tom

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  29. “You don’t read one word at a time.
    You bounce around. You anticipate
    words and fill them in.”
    !
    “By the time you’re 9 years old, your
    brain can drop up to 30% of the text
    and still understand”
    GDS
    Tom

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  30. 7. How well you write affects
    everything you do
    GDS
    Tom

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  31. 8. Screen readers show how good
    your markup is
    GDS
    Tom

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  32. The OS gets this information from
    your HTML
    GDS
    Tom

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  33. 9. Progressive enhancement is
    about resilience as much as it is
    about inclusiveness
    !
    @bradwright
    GDS
    Tom

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  34. https://gds.blog.gov.uk/2013/10/21/how-many-
    people-are-missing-out-on-javascript-enhancement/
    GDS
    Tom

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  35. 10. What you don’t know yet has
    the highest value
    GDS
    Tom

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  36. 11. Publish, don’t send
    GDS
    Tom

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  37. We believe sharing what we do will make
    it better, so you can see lots of our
    thinking and working online...
    GDS
    Tom

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  38. Read more:
    GDS Blog – http://gds.blog.gov.uk
    Design Principles – www.gov.uk/design-principles
    Digital Strategy – www.gov.uk/digitalstrategy
    Service Manual – www.gov.uk/service-manual
    Performance – www.gov.uk/performance
    Assisted Digital – http://assisteddigital.blog.gov.uk
    Digital Inclusion – http://digitalinclusion.blog.gov.uk
    Our code – www.github.com/alphagov
    GDS
    Tom

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  39. Attribution:
    Slide 18 (left)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/barkbud/4220648321
    Slide 18 (right)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/larskflem/503118033
    Slide 19 (left)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/larskflem/5088121460
    Slide 19 (centre)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/kimsandiego/8168063548
    Slide 19 (right)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/66879463@N00/4946025923
    Slide 25
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/jason-morrison/1954452273
    GDS
    Tom

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  40. Thanks!
    !
    Tom Byers

    @tombaromba

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