GDS

What is service design & who uses it?

Service and product design are in the ascendancy, becoming increasingly important within marketing and engineering departments.

Ashley Friedlein makes the claim in his trends for 2016, citing the number of consultancies and systems integrators that have made design acquisitions (see this Wired article for how IBM is beefing up its design creds).

Service design follows naturally from a focus on customer experience (as a central tenet of that dreaded term, digital transformation).

Five digital organisations with a transparent company culture

What is company culture?

It’s more than some free snacks and an away day, but exactly how much more?

Well, digital-first organisations and startups are often defined by a transparency that’s lacking from more conservative public and private owned companies.

Here’s a roundup of five companies that champion transparency.

Digital transformation: GDS shows the generation gap is as frustrating as ever

In just a few weeks, the UK’s Government Digital Service (GDS) has lost its head, its deputy, its strategy man, its chief designer, its head of user research and its delivery and performance chief.

There seems to be a mix of messages coming out of Whitehall – some talk about the plan always being to devolve the central GDS team into newly-prepared departments (a question of tackling transformation at the correct scale) and others seem to suggest a November spending review is curtailing a GDS that is losing an argument with some of its vocal critics.

I don’t know anything about the machinations of governments but in a broader context it’s pertinent to remind ourselves that momentum doesn’t always gather behind transformation projects.

18 companies with brilliant digital strategies

It occurred to me that amongst the Econsultancy blog team we certainly have our favourite companies as far as digital ambition and execution are concerned.

So I’m simply going to round up some companies that have done good things on this front and see if our readers get annoyed by any omissions or, indeed, inclusions.

So, here are 18 digital trailblazers. A lot of them are involved solely in ecommerce but not all of them.

N.B. I’ve deliberately excluded agencies and what I think of as tech companies, though that distinction is a little difficult to make in some areas.

10 insightful GOV.UK blog posts on service design

So, we’ve been talking about Government Digital Services (GDS) and GOV.UK quite a lot on the Econsultancy blog.

This is for two reasons. One: it’s great (in the middle of open, agile transformation that starts from without). Two: Mike Bracken is speaking at the awesome Festival of Marketing in November.

Here I’ve rounded up 10 of the best blog posts from GOV.UK’s 59 (count them!) blogs. Each post deals with user experience, service design or digital transformation.

I hope you enjoy them as much as we have.

GOV.UK fixes Reddit user’s bug in just a day

We and many others have made our love for Government Digital Services (GDS) quite clear. 

From its UX, to its style guide, to its place in changing the perception of the web.

However, I thought it worth quickly flagging up an interesting post on Reddit that shows just how far GDS has come and the standards it is setting.

In the post a redditor from the Home Office highlights a poor experience and a developer from the GOV.UK team fixes it within a day.

If you want to hear from Mike Bracken, executive director of digital at GDS, get yourself to the Festival of Marketing in November.

Mobile and desktop traffic: neck and neck?

Mobile is now more important than desktop (I posit). You only have to look at Google’s recent changes to see that change is irrevocably afoot. 

Tom Loosemore, Deputy Director at GDS, pondered yesterday whether a significant landmark, mobile devices bringing more traffic than laptops and PCs, is near.

There’s some great stuff in his blog and I thought I’d have a look around to find some additional evidence and perhaps even make the bold claim that mobile traffic is already in the majority!

See what you think and I’d love you to add some stats from your own site to the comments below, allowing us to make a more reasoned evaluation still.

Why I love the Gov.uk style guide

Let’s face it, in 2013 Gov.uk has featured in the forefront of many people’s minds as a flag bearer for great design and digital change. Continuing this trend, Thursday last week saw Gov.uk release the next section of its alpha style guide.

If you don’t have a style guide, or you have a fusty old copy in a shared folder no longer in use, or even worse, just a printed copy in a folder, well now is the time to update it and watch standards soar.

This style guide (part of GDS’s seven wider design principles) is still being optimised but now includes sections on ‘writing for Gov.uk’, ‘writing for the web’, ‘style points for various content types’ and a ‘transactions style guide’. 

It’s interesting that Gov.uk realises the style of the guide itself is important. Continuous work on improving navigation and keeping content up to date is as important for the style guide as for the wider site.

If information and guidance isn’t up to date, or the guide is not easily engaged with, errors carried forward will persist. 

Let’s take a look at the new style guide and see why it stands out, as well as what you can appropriate for your own organisation’s style guide. I hope you’ll agree with me, that when a style guide is done well, it’s actually a lot of fun to use, with more prescriptive advice on grammar reading as dead pan as a Stewart Lee gag.