May 2018 bookmarks

Introducing our user research principles
Our user research community of practice has been thinking about how we should approach our work. We decided to produce a set of principles that we believe underpin our purpose and our ways of working.
Designing the impossible makes it possible
As an interaction designer, I hear a sentence at least once on every project I work on. "We can't do that because [insert mediocre excuse here]." A lot of the time this is because of technology restrictions. We can't integrate with legacy systems.
The Fast and Slow of Design
Move fast, break things. Fail forward. Fail fast. Always be shipping. These idioms are all around us in the tech industry. Establishing themselves in small, garage-band startups, they are now deeply entrenched in working cultures of even the most traditional publicly listed companies.
What's in a pattern name?
Some time ago, I worked with a large client, helping them to catalog their existing design patterns, and to understand how they could establish a broader design system.
Where Lines Break is Complicated. Here's all the Related CSS and HTML.
Say you have a really long word within some text inside an element that isn't wide enough to hold it. A common cause of that is a long URL finding it's way into copy. What happens? It depends on the CSS. How that CSS is controlling the layout and what the CSS is telling the text to do.
The Veil of Ignorance
You are in your mid-twenties and your vision is 20/20 or better. You are not color blind and all the devices you own have a retina screen. You are standing in a major city and your internet is fast. Your vision isn't 20/20 anymore, just like 65% of the population, it's worse than that.
Design Sprints Are Snake Oil
Design sprints are snake oil, and I'll tell you why. Their creator, Jake Knapp, (formerly) a designer with Google Ventures, promises fast, tangible results for virtually any problem of any size, in any organization.
What we learned from getting our autocomplete tested for accessibility
We've been working on an autocomplete/location picker for use across government. I blogged last year about what an autocomplete is and why we are building one. While we were building it, we had our autocomplete/location picker tested for accessibility.
Facilitating Awesome Meetings
Meeting facilitation is a critical leadership skill that's often overlooked. Excellent meeting facilitation means that the attendees know why they're there, they get equal participation time, and your meeting's goal or deliverable is achieved in a timely and productive way.
How we're using data dashboards for content design at ONS
This is the final post in our short series on using data for content design at ONS. My first blog looked at why we're taking this approach, and the previous post covered the data we're using and how we're presenting it using dashboards.
10 principles for service patterns
Design patterns are reusable solutions for common problems. In government at the moment there are a number of interaction and content design patterns that are used by service teams across departments.
Responsive tables, revisited
Many people have explored responsive tables. The usual idea is turning the table into key-value pairs so that cells become rows and there are only 2 columns total, which fit in any screen. However, this means table headers need to now be repeated for every row. The current ways to do that are:
A guide to agile communication
The government service standard encourages teams to work in the open as much as possible, echoing item 10 in the government design principles, 'make things open, it makes them better'. This short guide was written to help teams do just that.
How to test frontend performance
Websites that perform badly can frustrate users and drain their data plans and battery life. You can address this by making sure your service frontend is as fast and lightweight as possible. This will also mean your service works well on a range of devices.
What charts do
The most important thing about a chart is not its aesthetics, the technology used to create it, the kind of data visualization layout or even the data it represents. The most important thing about a chart is its impact. Impact is what a chart does.
Automatically creating an accessible color palette from any color? Sure!
The natural way to let users configure their Confrere, so it looks more like their own brand, is to let them pick their own brand color. To have buttons, links and so on in the brand color seems like a no-brainer. But it's easier said than done.
Why we removed the most visited advice page on our website
Using data to investigate how people use content can challenge our assumptions in surprising ways. We've recently decided to remove Basic rights at work, the most visited advice page on our website.
How I used Wget to make a copy of the Service Manual for user research
Last year I made a complete copy of the Service Manual for some user research. One of my teams was planning some research to test some new content for the Service Manual with users.
#WhatisResearchOps? A starting point
Next week, the first #WhatisResearchOps global workshops kick off. Are you attending one or would you like to? You can find out more in Kate’s post here.
Card sorting: a powerful, simple research method
As someone who studied Information Science, I’ve always been drawn to grouping and categorizing things. Imagine my glee when I first learned there was a UX research method that was all about grouping and categorizing.
Search interface: 20 things to consider
What questions to ask users? What to consider while prototyping? And what are the best practices in search interface design? Depending on the project, search may be one of the most complex features.
Observations on the web
About seven years ago I was invited to a workshop. The Office for National Statistics were gathering together people from the statistics and linked data communities to talk about publishing statistics on the web.
To take the next step on digital, we dropped the word ‘digital’
Last year, Citizens Advice helped over 2.6 million people directly and our digital advice had 41 million hits.
Enterprise Design Stack: The Tools We Use To Design The Datacenter Operating System
I love reading about how other Design teams are working together and what tools they’re using. It’s reassuring to know teams you admire and respect use the same tools you do.
Short Note on ARIA, Dragon and Standards
There has been ongoing discussion, mainly on twitter, about Dragon naturally speaking, ARIA and Accessibility APIs. A recent tweet informs these notes. #dragon doesn’t support #aria & according to @ewaccess, it probably never will. It’s definitely an AT solution nonetheless. #a11yCampTO