Weeknotes 15

10-14th September 2018

Trying to keep these even leaner. Going to focus on a few themes from a week.

Paper forms

On a personal crusade with paper forms right now. We have three for patients. And soon have some for prisoners (filled in by prison medical staff on behalf of a prisoner).

They’re not good enough. People can muddle through them. But they’re not the standard we need to be hitting.

On the back of a great session at the design huddle with Caroline Jarrett I had a strong action plan. I even tweeted it for feedback:

And got even greater feedback and connections to people willing to help.

The programme agreed to do everything to make them better. With a bit of campaigning we’ve got access to the current filled in forms and will review them next Wednesday as a team. We’ve also booked in a lab and potentially some pop-up testing.

I’ve created a clean form system. Brutally simple graphic design system. Now to make our process brutally simple for our users.

Design meet up!

This week it was the quarterly all-hands design meet. In London this time.

I enjoy going to London. That said, though the venue was great, it wasn’t as iconic or scenic a walk this time. And it was also a rather painfully long day. Thanks trains!

During the day I got to express my inner artiste:

And hang with lots of cool people. (Special shout out to Louise Mushet who made the day extra fun without a few of my design besties!)

During the day the rapid paced 5 min show and tells worked well in quickly letting everyone show a thing. Be present. Be the centre of attention. But they also too short and leave no room for chats.

I nicked time in each talk to ask a question. So when people were swapping over I’d ask a question. But they left me wanting more. Much more.

When you get together so many smart people I feel you have to give space to comments. That freeform discussion space is where designers shine.

Lunch was amazing. Hat tip to Pete “Two sheds but actually I only have one right now because I gave my son a shed” Smith. We had to walk for it but I had a great plate of chicken kabab and chips.

All in all it was a great day. Loads of smart, fun people in the room. Really well put together by the London design gang!

Stuff for admin users

Something that popped up at the design away day. And reviewing some work recently, is the attitude towards professional/admin users by designers.

Something I’ve heard elsewhere was lots of excuses how “that” group of users are different. Like they can’t be overworked. Distracted. Confused. Need full love and attention.

Happily we have lots of designers who care. But plenty don’t. Plenty throw away solid patterns because things aren’t “citizen facing”.

Like admin staff aren’t “citizens”.

Yes, if a user does a thing 20 times a day, certain patterns may need to be tweaked. Tweaked not destroyed.

Designers should be responding to user needs not preconceptions. And it makes me shudder when those preconceptions don’t have a date with user testing.

Does your user do that thing 20 times a day?

I asked this question recently to a designer and the answer was 3 times a year. That isn’t an interface that they know by heart. That isn’t an interface they have muscle memory developed for.

Don't miss an article