Weeknotes 15-19 April

We’re back for a super-quick update before everything goes egg-shaped this weekend.

We’ve started a new two week sprint, and tried to plan around all the bank holidays. It’s been hectic.

This is what we’ve been up to.

User research

The main event this week was undoubtedly Magda and Ben’s user testing analysis session.

We spent a whole day going through users’ feedback, with every page in the redesigned adult social care section mapped out on the wall.

This was fantastic. Magda and Ben condensed almost 22 hours of testing into two sessions, so we could see what worked and what didn’t. Some of our assumptions came back with a big tick, others not so much.

It gave all of us a lot to think about, mostly good. But there’s no point being in the iteration game if you’re going to settle for just good.


It’s been a big week for development.

Martin’s been doing some titanic deployments to the new with Purvi.

There’s also been some time spent thinking about some design issues coming out of Magda and Ben’s user testing analysis.

Also, swatting some big old bugs.


Since starting last week, Caroline A’s embarked on an epic trawl through 70 pages in our Environment and Planning section.

For those wondering about the scale of the redesign, that’s 32,572 words­ – just shy of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.

Hannah’s also hit the ground running, getting up to speed with our documents and working methods.

Caroline M finished her work on the Leisure, culture and local heritage and the Library sections.

For Sheila, this sprint, every day’s a school day. She’s carried on with her sterling work on the Education section.

Service design

The Common Service Patterns project continues to gather pace.

Nic and the Future Gov gang have been joined by Essex’s own Bhupinder, and they’ve been working up a storm.

They’ve shared their map of 157 public-facing services that we provide, and held a workshop that delved into the bits they have in common. Then, they decided which of these common tasks they’re going to focus on in the next few weeks.

This hasn’t gone unnoticed and lots of other councils are having a crafty peek at what we’re doing here. They’ll be pleased to know that there's another service patterns blog post coming next week.

Team highlights

This week we were celebrating. Not only anticipating the long weekend, but the arrival of our three new starters.

They’re here, they’re ready to fight for the user, and, as permanent staff, they’re here to stay. That's really exciting because it means the team's future beyond the project is in good hands.

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