Making your work open isn't just the final icing on the cake

In the last week or so, Sam has written the opt-out service’s accessibility statement. An accessibility statement is a page that explains what accessibility testing you’ve done. And any defects you are working through.

I’m a big fan of working in the open and being open about your work.

When planning the work Sam and myself said the definition of done should be to open up our work to our colleagues.

So as part of the acceptance criteria we agreed that we’d share the statement on slack.

Working in the open

In writing the statement we made a point of being open. Getting help from several places through our entire process. We had:

  1. Read the full policy
  2. Asked the UK Government slack community what they were doing. And to check my understanding of the policy
  3. Looked through an early access version of the GDS template
  4. Held a design meet up about it to discuss as designers what we were doing and our position on it
  5. Aligned our work with what our colleagues around NHS Digital and GDS were doing
  6. Talked the delivery team through the design decisions

We had also leant on the expertise of users with access needs through our testing partner DAC.

When Sam had finished writing the accessibility statement she shared it on slack.

Opportunities to be open

One of the principles I love is “make things open, it makes things better”. I see it as a ways of working principle.

There are many opportunities to be open about your work.

Using baking a cake as an example there are many stages you can be open:

  1. I’m hungry, what should I eat? or I have these ingredients, what should I cook?
  2. I’m thinking about cooking a cake. What cake should I cook?
  3. I’m making this cake, any advice? or Would you like to do it with me?
  4. I’m cooking a cake, does this look right?
  5. I’ve cooked my cake, what do you think? (Would you like a slice?)
  6. My cakes are very dense, what could I do that’s different?
  7. Here’s what I did to cook that cake

There is every opportunity to be open with your work. Be it with your team, or those beyond it. Choose an opportunity. It may not be as delicious as cake, but working in the open makes your work better.

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