Isobel is our first baby, so it’s difficult to compare having a baby during coronavirus to other times. But it does seem like a strange time to have a baby. There are many disadvantages to the current situation. But there are also some interesting advantages, particularly for me as a father. Read full article2 comments
Archive — Remote working
Here’s another post I published to my team’s blog over the summer and forgot to link to from here.
Back in June, I ran an experiment in mass remote collaboration at our Web Publishing Community. This was, of course, at the height of lockdown, as we were adapting to the new reality of a prolonged period of working from home.
I’d come away from the Service Design in Government conference in March really keen to try out liberating structures, following an excellent session run by Open Change.
Liberating structures is a set of workshop tools designed to include everyone and generate innovative ideas. These are ideally carried out with people who are physically together, so it was a little awkward when I wanted to try them out just at the moment everyone was required to be physically apart.
But some liberating structures are possible to run remotely, so I decided to introduce a large number of colleagues to a foundational liberating structure — 1-2-4-all.
Through this session, we collaboratively sifted through ideas generated by over 40 participants, before coming to a consensus on the one strongest idea.
I realised that while the summer got pretty busy for us, there are a few work blog posts that I haven’t cross-posted here yet. So I will drip-feed them here over the next little while.
This first one is from July, where I outlined some of the lessons we have been learning from getting collaborative activities done remotely. This post also highlights some of the work my colleagues have been doing to continue our user experience work despite the challenges presented by the coronavirus outbreak.
This was a follow-up to an earlier blog post, Meeting the challenges of conducting user research remotely.
A write-up of a brilliant talk Jo Arthur gave at this month’s UX Glasgow event, where she outlined how the National Lottery Heritage Fund analyse user research remotely. I found it super useful, not least because this is exactly what we need to do at my work right now, and I have taken a lot of inspiration from this. Thanks Jo!
The coronavirus outbreak has posed massive challenges for everyone in society. For practitioners of human-centred approaches to design, where face-to-face interaction is often so important to enhancing our understanding, our current requirement to maintain social distancing creates obvious barriers.
However, this doesn’t mean our work to ensure we’re meeting people’s needs has to stop. In fact, there are some perhaps surprising advantages to working remotely as a user experience practitioner.
Over on my team’s blog, I have outlined some of what I’ve learned about remote user research over the past month or so.
Note — 2020-03-18
I’m in Ikea, where lots of people are buying emergency desks.
Inventive tips for separating your job from your life when you work from home
I don’t work from home, but I still enjoyed this piece on little rituals that help you separate work time from personal time.
I’m glad of my 30 minute buffer between home and work. As I’ve said before, I wouldn’t reduce it. The walk helps me ease my way into the day, and gives me the headspace to prepare for what’s to come, or — if it’s the end of my day — what’s just happened.
Tech has a diversity problem — so this designer went to Kentucky
I am interested in how, despite the (theoretical) potential of technology improvements to make remote working easier, technology jobs still seem to cluster in particular areas.
Design firms and technology firms are heavily concentrated in cities on the west and east coasts, particularly in San Francisco, LA, and New York, limiting job opportunities to those who have the resources to move to, and live in, such expensive metropolises. And with so many designers living in urban centers, few have the perspective that comes from living in rural areas.
This can be viewed as yet another of the tech industry’s diversity problems.
Automattic, the company that runs WordPress.com, has all of its employees working remotely. Automattic’s John Maeda is trying to engage young people “that fall outside the normal Silicon Valley culture”.