The development of the service map prototype trundles along: Some fixes; Pulling through some new types of data the team has put into our database; A little tidying up some messy code and files to make it easier to update latest info in the future. I want to get this nice and neat by the middle of next week to review as “pretty much done”. And I need to stop calling it the prototype. It’s a working website.

Earlier in the week, I was adding into the service map the freshly provided information for a service from a body at arm’s length from MHCLG (get your breath back). It felt satisfying simultaneously gathering service info (will people get what we are asking for? will they need help from us? what’s the process at their end?) with info from people wanting to help further our understanding of the services around the department.

Later in the week it was drawing into the prototype the revised approach to users and user needs which user researcher Jess grafted through.

Side note: Having a couple of stretches where I had several hours to just focus on coding felt way more productive than fitting in an hour here and there. You know those tasks where you get warmed up a little slower than some other things, but when you get going you just motor through?

I had a chance to review the service patterns we’ve distilled over the last couple of weeks, looking through some services and noting which patterns I observed in those services. The list won’t be done but it feels right at this moment in time. I’d love to dig a little more into the variants within those patterns, how is applying in that service the same or different to that service? What other services have the same process for asking for something. It’s nice to be looking at services too, not just the web bit.

As the service map team is operating as a service to its own users we made some handy progress shaping the feedback journey for our own service, again using prototypes to sketch our thoughts after some virtual board work and then start to hone the journeys, as well as looking at other tools that can help (like Office 365’s Word and web form services). Still some work to do, but it’s always easier to talk from made things than referring to abstracts. (Shout out to Jess again.)

There aren’t many designers in MHCLG, which means designers’ support is reliant on a small number of us. Helping others learn a new skill or have a reminder session because they are rusty is something I had lost time for about 7 years ago, made me want to go back to being “hands on” full time. But the last few years I’ve found it one of the more satisfying sides to my working days again, the last couple of weeks particularly. As someone in the later years of their career and done the up/down/up/down the career ladder I wonder how much communities of practice (over specialised one on one time with a peer) support (and not support) the development of designers, and ultimately the furtherment of better design in an organisation. Anyway, satisfying to spend time supporting a couple of the other designers this week.

Wednesday I ended the day looking over everything I had done in the working day. It felt like I’d used a lot of tools from my toolbox, a lot of tools I’d built up over the years. I didn’t feel any sense of context switching whiplash. It had been a steady day, a lot of things on my own and a lot of things with others, a lot of things done, but again that word: satisfying.

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