Government

A day in the life of… Digital Media Officer at Leicester City Council

This week’s Day in the Life has a particularly interesting angle, as we talk to Ian Gallagher, the digital media officer at Leicester City Council.

Thanks to Richard III and that car park, followed by Vardy and his party (dilly ding etc), Leicester is firmly on the world map.

But council digital work is more than social media and PR. Let’s get the inside track, as well as some excellent career advice from Ian.

Three key charts from the ‘Digital Skills Gap in Government’ report

Digital transformation is a unique and idiosyncratic process, wholly dependant on the organisation in question.

However, that’s not to say there aren’t lessons we can learn by looking at case studies. Indeed, the UK Government has been a crucible of digital innovation for some years.

So, what better place to look for lessons on addressing the digital skills gap within your own business? 

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.

Social media in an election year: what can we expect?

Politics and social media go hand in hand. There’s even a social network with political consciousness an implicit demand of its users (Volkalize).

Social media is mature enough now that in America the senate is currently deciding on whether employers should have the right to demand disclosure of social network user names from its employees.

Essentially, we see our free social media activity as a right, as much as we do our vote.

With Alastair Campbell the opening speaker on day two of our Festival of Marketing, and British and American elections in 2015 and 2016 respectively, it seems appropriate to ask ‘what can political parties expect from social media?’

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.