Weeknotes 7-11 October

There’s no progress without iteration. So, in that spirit, we’re changing the way we weeknote. Instead of disciplines, we’ll be giving updates as product teams.

This reflects the progress we’ve made since our ginormous push to get live in June. Having shown we can pull together to deliver, we’re now hoping to show how multidisciplinary teams can tackle a range of challenges as we embed ourselves in the ECC structure.


We’ve had a really positive week in the accessibility product stream. Martin’s been putting some of our form functionality through its paces with SiteImprove.

He also gave Hannah and I a walkthrough of how GitHub works so we can update the Essex Service Design Toolkit.

As content developers, we’d not really used this kind of tool before, and were both a bit nervous. Having an experienced developer like Martin around to explain it, made it loads easier.

We’ve agreed to share more about our respective disciplines in future.

Adult social care: financial assessments

We had our first full team day on Monday and spent an intensive few hours working with colleagues from the Financial Assessments team, Organisational Effectiveness, Tech Services and the Contact Centre. We filled a whiteboard, took a lot of notes and learned a lot about the process, the teams and the tech that support financial assessments.

Stat of the week is that up to 17 teams can touch a single assessment!

We followed up with a few more working sessions with Finance colleagues and are starting to map out a high-level view of the whole financial assessments process against which we can map the teams, the technology, the correspondence and any initial pain points or areas of opportunity.

Next week we’ll be observing teams to get a better understanding of the internal user experience, and will start to learn more about the experience from the perspective of the service user with some call listening in the contact centre.

We have our first show-and-tell session in E1 Zone3 in County Hall at 13:00-14:00 - all are welcome, and it will be more of a conversation than a formal presentation. We’ll share early drafts of our mapping and research plans and invite your input to keep us moving forward.

Service patterns

We are working with business analysts in Tech Services on crafting the ideal booking journey, focusing specifically on the scenario of booking an event, such as a country park walk or sports course. We've really enjoyed taking them on our design review journey and following the approach we documented when we worked on the ‘apply for something’ pattern.

They threw a lot of interesting provocations our way and challenged our way of thinking where it needed to be challenged.

The patterns team also facilitated an ideation session during which we got the team together to come up with as many ideas as possible for how current problems within booking journeys could be solved.

We got lots of great ideas and are in the process of going through all of them and using them to feed into our book journey flows. Most importantly, we got to work together as a whole team and it got everyone to get up from their desks and do some sketching under time pressure!

This week Georgiana and Ben got to go to a village near Clacton for some user research.  This is part of one of our current research project looking at the Education pages and applications of, during which we've been interviewing parents of school aged children.

It was really interesting to hear about the challenges of choosing a school and getting everything set up and going in a family that had moved to Essex from Kent and how they managed their relationship with their previous local authority in comparison to now.

Georgiana and Ben then logged all the issues and observations we had during the interview and how they related to our research objectives.

Our round of user research into education is ending with this being the final interview. We will move on to testing of other pages of

Team highlight

The team got together to ideate on the ‘book something’ service pattern. It was a fast-paced, Sharpie-chewing, blue-sky-thinking kind of a session. We had 2 minutes to scribble, sketch or mime 6 ideas for each ‘how might we’ statement.

It was also a lovely reminder, that even though we’re working on different things, we can still come together to unleash our collective creative, provocative, and occasionally, artistic talents to solve problems.

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