A Day at the Local Gov Drupal Unconference: Connecting, Learning, and Building Community

A Day at the LGD Unconference: Connecting, Learning, and Building Community

Picture this: A vibrant hall filled with eager minds, buzzing with anticipation. The air crackles with energy as we gather for the LGD Unconference in Birmingham. As a trio of product managers Will, Jen, and Sucharitha, we embarked on a day of exploration, camaraderie, and unexpected twists.


There were three distinct types of session, Morning, Unconference and Networking, let explore them below:

Morning Sessions

The day kicked off with introductions and lightning talks covering a wide range of topics including.

  • Implementation of Directories: Experience of implementing the directories functionality.  The conversation touched on taxonomy, navigation, and user-friendly directory layouts.
  • HTML Publications: Balancing aesthetics and functionality in HTML publications sparked lively debates. We explored responsive design, semantic markup, and the future of web content.
  • Followed by longer sessions themed around current strategic initiatives:
  • Microsites: We delved into the world of microsites, discussing their purpose, design, and impact on user engagement.
  • Accessibility: Ensuring our products are accessible to all users is crucial. We learned about creating inclusive digital experiences.
  • Editor Experience: As product managers, we’re always keen on improving the tools our content creators use. The editor experience conversation provided valuable insights into enhancing usability and efficiency.

Will kindly facilitated the session, collating requirements for future improvements to LGD. The following is the summary of what was discussed. Requirements were classified the requirements as Must, Should & Nice to have

Must requirements - which are in progress:

  • Page building on Service pages
  • Flexible & responsive images (make it easy to size images)
  • HTML Publications (to stop PDF’s)
  • Entity usage (finding where files are used)
  • Discuss with Walsall about Download component.
  • Better labelling of H1, H2, H3 on Admin.
  • Draft banner on all pages by default (Brighton)
  • Schedule transition on all content types by default.

Must requirements - that need to scoped:

  • Issues with Table editing (Paragraph)
  • Scrolling issues (few intermittent issues)
  • Content list hierarchy (Title/display title)
  • Service contact reviews (feed back via Active directory & non-logged)
  • Review access of comments, but no editorial rights to page content & publish access.

Should requirements:

  • Analytics dashboard
  • Analysis of page views, heatmaps & clicks
  • Analytics embed in admin dashboard
  • Ability to add contact component to all content types (OOTB functionality is in service pages only)
  • Search origin pages setup in LGD (Refurl)
  • Ordering rows in things like accordions.
  • Content export (content audit – extract reports automated)
  • Media library reformat

Nice to have requirements:

  • ChatGPT integration to help create content.
  • Information Architecture for councils

Unconference Sessions

The heart of the event was the unconference sessions. Attendees had the freedom to propose and lead discussions on topics close to their hearts. Here’s where we spent our time:

  • Solr Search: Jen & Sucharitha participated in Solr search capabilities pitch which looked at the pros and cons of Solr search when combined with Nutch.
  • Resources for Newbies: As a relative newcomer to the LGD community, Jen appreciated the session focused on resources for beginners. She discovered valuable guides, documentation, and mentorship opportunities.
  • Co-design tips for community outreach (SEND focus)
  • User research – before, during & after
  • More collaboration & co-funding
  • Intranet (open – ECC Open intranet inspiration)
  • New LA’s pitch + Business case

Networking and Drinks

After a day of intense discussions, we unwound with drinks and networking. Meeting people face-to-face was a highlight. Notably, we connected with representatives from:

  • Annertech: It was great to put names to faces.
  • Agile Collective: Not a company we are currently working with but they turned out a great team in matching hoodies for the session and were keen to chat about the services they could offer customers.
  • Chicken: Yes, that’s their actual name! Justine from Chicken proved to be a valuable resource on HTML publications functionality.
  • Invuse: Met Invuse team who do clear, simple & editable UX designs & digital accessibility for the SEND website.
  • Nomensa: Finally, we met the Nomensa team in person. They were all very warm and we had some great conversations about our future collaborations.

Community Connection

As the day concluded we all felt more connected to the LGD community. It was reassuring to find others with a range of experience with using LGD. In summary, the LGD Unconference was a day well spent—a blend of learning, networking, and camaraderie. Until the next one! 🌟


Share this page

Leave a comment

We only ask for your email address so we know you're a real person