Week 18 - 1 March 2020

My phone got wet in the storm on Thursday and stopped working. The only temporary replacement I could find was my (very) old Motorola Defy, the kind of thing that looks like a toy these days. I’d have done without, but I had a scout weekend to help out on and needed one in case of emergency. Obviously the kids took the piss out of it. No, you can’t get tiktok on a Motorola Defy I was forced to admit. Google have been irritatingly efficient and already mailed me a replacement, so the Defy is going back in the attic. Until next time.

One of the things I’ll miss about it is the built in FM tuner, which you don’t really seem to get on phones anymore. It uses the headphones as the antenna, a beautifully economic bit of engineering. It reminded me of the ingenuity of the old style rice cookers (one of which I grew up with). Under-engineered in a sort of fantastic way.

At work, I’ve been looking more at the overview page and navigation. Ethel’s (developer) candid first reaction of ‘oh wow this looks like a marketing page’ sparked a moment of clarity that the page was way too busy and loose. So I went back to the drawing board.

The new iteration steals the GDS step-by-step pattern, and tweaks it to work for our context. The pattern rightfully won GDS a D&AD pencil (a design award) last year.

Because you log in to an account to do your will, we can show users more about where they are in the steps than I’ve seen when the pattern has been used on gov websites. We’ve been doing some remote testing of the new overview page and navigation - initial signs are promising!

Farewill overview page - New UI explorations

We’re starting to think about what we’ll do next quarter. Loz is assembling a crack team to write one about printing and sending all our wills to customers (instead of making them download and print them themselves), and myself and Tam (product manager) and Thomas (developer) and Clare (researcher) are gonna work on one about texting our customers updates about their wills (rather than just emails). The common thread is thinking about our service more broadly than the digital experience, which feels great. And where the biggest impact can be had.

I’ve also been helping a charity called Hospital Rooms with their website. We’re working through some changes iteratively, starting with the highest value problems. The first thing we’ve done is make it much easier to find the link to donate by sticking a big yellow button in the nav.

Like many people in the same twitter bubble as me I’ve been reading Good Services. It’s a great book. I’ll recommend it around the office.

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