Weeknote 6th January 2023 – Getting back into the swing of things

After a great break over the holidays mainly spending time with family I was back to work this week.

Lots of my team were still on leave this week, so it was a week of head down work focusing on moving some things forward on my own a lot of the time.

I checked in with my Interaction Designer colleagues on some designs they have been producing which are up next for usability testing. Then I spent some time planning and designing testing for the next couple of rounds of testing. The first of these are looking at a new feature for people to create questions where users choose items from a list. The second is a round of accessibility testing.

The usability testing should be fairly straightforward, but I always find it very useful to take the time to do a detailed plan, and to script some key areas and think carefully about the language used.

The accessibility testing is a bit more involved, mainly because it’s the first time we are doing this type of testing using production code rather than the prototype that’s built in the GOV.UK Prototype kit. So there’s some logistics to work out in terms of how people access the product without having an account as well as the usual work of understanding what we will get the most value from testing out.

I’m waiting on some technical work to enable the above, so I planned out the session content and left the part about how we actually access the tool for next week.

I also did some work on recruitment for both of these sets of sessions. I’m doing a mix of my own recruitment and working with an agency. Turned out that a lot of people are still on leave or catching up for the new year until next week so I set this in motion, also to return to next week.

I also did some planning for workshops I’m running next week, and caught up with some work other people had done while I was on leave.

In other projects I’ve been taking some time to plan a bit for the next year. I have a number of projects I would really like to start over the next few months but I don’t want to start too many things and not be able to sustain them so I am just trying to figure out how best to approach it all. I’ll not share what they are just yet to leave me space to still leave some of them on the cutting room floor!

Next week should be a more normal week. I find January a strange time of year. After a very busy end of the year I’ve less planned and it always seems like a month to just get back into things and have a quiet time. Years ago when I used to work in education technology I used to spend the best part of a week at the BETT show re connecting with all my friends and colleagues. That was always a good event to look forward to at this time of year, but it is not really relevant to my work these days and has been moved to later in the year. I’ll probably try to get down to it for some of the social stuff. It’s now a relatively short bike ride from my house rather than a five hour train journey from Plymouth as it used to be back then!

My focus for the rest of the month is going to be pushing on with user testing for GOV.UK Forms and making sure our research is delivering for our recently revamped roadmap. That and getting some of these new projects started in my time outside the day job.. more on that soon!


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