Weeknote 7th October 2022 – Understanding paper forms and our first form goes live.

This week has felt particularly busy, in a good way though. The last few weeks there have been several work based face to face meetups and events, more frequently than I’ve had for a long time.

Last week we had our ‘goodbyes’ face to face to Harry Voss, our Product Manager. Then this week the GDS All Staff event in Westminster. It’s unusual for me to have meetups with lots of colleagues so close together, but it’s been nice to catch up and hang out with people as well as work together.

This week I’ve continued my work looking at how people who create paper and pdf based forms construct certain types of questions. After running a couple of long workshops with multiple people last week, I pivoted this work a bit to shorter practical sessions with individuals. I asked them to treat me like a beginner and teach me how they create certain types of questions, and this worked really well for getting at their thinking about how the information is structured.

I also picked up some usability testing sessions of the whole form creation process using our tool that my colleague Leo had planned and set up, while he was doing some training. That all went well and the people I worked with had some very useful insights into what the form creator is like for people who don’t usually use technical software.

Our first partner department also published their first form using our GOV.UK Forms tool. That means members of the public are starting to complete forms and the whole tool is starting to have an impact already.

I’ve also run a session for other researchers on accessibility testing, worked with our developers to plan for a new environment to do more testing with production code before it goes live, and spent a while refining research tasks from our backlog for the next few sprints. As well as all that I spent some time finessing a plan for how we might start publishing our research in the open on GitHub as part of the open source approach to the product.

Next week my first focus is analysis of all these sessions that have taken place this week. Then it will be on to some forward planning of research questions, next steps on open publishing and planning for the next sprint.

First, a quiet weekend!


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