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That's all the excuse we need give you some insight into our next featured speaker, Ariel Kennan, whose talk is titled “Making Public Services Effective and Accessible“. Ariel Kennan is Director, Design and Product at the Center for Economic Opportunity for the New York City Mayor’s Office. Her team is improving service delivery and advancing equity and opportunity for all New Yorkers through service design and building the best in class digital products. Her work includes service design, digital strategy and policy, mobile applications, websites, and media installations with a wide variety of cultural, corporate, and government partners. She is an alumna of Parsons School of Design and has held fellowships with Code for America and the Center for Urban Pedagogy. Ariel Kennan Ariel summarised how she arrived at her current position in a January 2017 interview with Doreen Lorenzo for FastCo Design:
"I first came to New York City to go to Parsons’ Integrated Design program, which was one of the first design school programs in the United States to embrace a multidisciplinary perspective. They knew that in order to solve the world’s hardest problems, designers needed to work with people from multiple disciplines. After college, I went on to work for ESI Design, where I had the opportunity to design a new city in China. From that point on, I knew I wanted to build and design things for cities. Because government controls a lot of what happens in cities, I knew I better understand how it all works. So I applied and was accepted to the Code for America fellowship program. Code for America helped me gain the vocabulary, knowledge, and expertise to have an informed conversation about what drives change in an urban context, along with the core design skills that I already had. So when I came home to New York City, Mayor de Blasio was just taking office. I had seen him speak previously and was so impressed. From there, I knew I wanted to serve my city."
Originally published: https://www.fastcodesign.com/3067006/designing-women/how-ariel-kennan-solves-nycs-most-intractable-design-problems Ariel gave an idea of the kind of projects she works on in an interview with Dave Seliger for Conscious magazine:
"I’ve been very fortunate to work on a lot of cool projects, everything from giant LED signs in Times Square to media installations in retail stores and museums. I even worked on a new city in China several years ago. But in the last couple years I’ve been working directly with local governments. When I was a fellow at Code for America, I worked with the mayors and their staff in Kansas City, KS and Kansas City, MO. I’m really proud of the technology we built over the course of the year to help the city better serve entrepreneurs, but most of all I’m proud of the larger community and government change that we helped create – not only through community organising, but helping the governments write policy and create new roles within the government itself. To me that was a much bigger, lasting impact than any single app could achieve."
Originally published: http://consciousmagazine.co/innovating-gotham-ariel-kennan/ Ariel Kennan In that same interview, Ariel showed her understanding of one aspect of government service delivery when she commented:
"Government is full of people who are incredibly well intentioned and who want to improve our cities. But sometimes I think public servants get held back by the larger systems of government, like procurement, human resources, and technology delivery. I’m really interested in how to bring new skills to public service, including design. What are the modern standards? How can we be more agile and nimble in the way that we work? And how can we be more informed by the people who actually use our products and services? By bringing these design values and skills to government, we can create more efficient and effective policies and services."
Originally published: http://consciousmagazine.co/innovating-gotham-ariel-kennan/ The FastCo interview showed Ariel also addresses the issues from the perspective of the citizen user of government services:
"Government is really good at organizing itself into specific issue areas, and thinking about which policies govern which pieces. But it’s not necessarily looking at the individual resident who has to touch five different agencies to have something change in their lives. My job is to ask the question, how do we bring better services across all of those points? We’ve been doing this in a few different ways. One has been using design as a service. We currently have a design team made up of public servants that are also full-time designers. They worked on the mayor’s new street homelessness initiative, HOME-STAT. But what we quickly realised was that stakeholders across the city didn’t understand the service from end-to-end, even if they understood their part of it. So we talked to everyone who touches the service including people who are actually on the street. We journey mapped the entire experience from end-to-end and brought different stakeholders together to co-create changes that they would like to see — from policy to communications to data to tech. We’re also working to build capacity and create tools not only for ourselves to do the design work but for others across the city to learn and have the tools to do it themselves. We’re developing a new design playbook for different services and departments within the city. We’re also creating a framework to be able to evaluate design interventions in the city and know if they’re effective. We want to know that we’re not just doing design for design’s sake."
Originally published: https://www.fastcodesign.com/3067006/designing-women/how-ariel-kennan-solves-nycs-most-intractable-design-problems Civic Design Camp In 2014, Ariel was one of the co-founders of the US East Coast branch of Civic Design Camp. There is a concise and well illustrated summary of the event, written by Carly Ayres for design site Core77 called "Civic Design Camp: Talks, Task Forces, Taboos and Tools for Large-Scale Impact":
"It's not often that an event brings government officials, public servants, visual and industrial designers together in the same room... but when it does, you can expect a truly forward-looking conversation. At least that's what organizers Dave Seliger and Ariel Kennan had in mind when they decided to bring Civic Design Camp to the East Coast: With the goal of creating "better citizen experiences" across the board, the 70 attendees spent last Saturday rethinking government programs and initiatives."
Read the full article at http://www.core77.com/posts/27886/Civic-Design-Camp-Talks-Task-Forces-Taboos-and-Tools-for-Large-Scale-Impact The video below shows Ariel's presentation to the annual Code For America conference in 2015. If you want to keep up with Ariel's work, you can find here on the here: angellist: https://angel.co/ariel-kennan facebook: https://www.facebook.com/arielkennan flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/arielmai/ foursquare: https://foursquare.com/user/59170799 github: https://github.com/arielkennan google+: https://plus.google.com/111347713481414198767 instagram: https://www.instagram.com/arielmainyc/ linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/arielkennan medium: https://medium.com/@arielmai twitter: https://twitter.com/arielmai website: http://www.arielkennan.com/ If you want see Ariel in person, come along to Transform 17 in Canberra at the end of March. See you there." ["post_title"]=> string(43) "Transform 17 Speaker Insights: Ariel Kennan" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(42) "transform-17-speaker-insights-ariel-kennan" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-02-23 12:49:54" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-02-23 01:49:54" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=6860" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [1]=> object(WP_Post)#243 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(6852) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-02-22 10:00:25" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-02-21 23:00:25" ["post_content"]=> string(2499) "Seb ChanVideo Ristretto is back in its mid-week slot, highlighting some of the shorter and sharper talks from our various conferences in video format, typically about 20 minutes long. This week, we bring you Seb Chan's talk from Direction 16, "Making things for people to do things with things we're preserving for them". Once you know that Seb's speciality is in working with museums, using great design and emerging technology to make them more relevant and popular than ever before, this title makes a lot of sense.

 

 

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" ["post_title"]=> string(70) "Video Ristretto: Seb Chan, CXO, Australian Centre for the Moving Image" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(67) "video-ristretto-seb-chan-cxo-australian-centre-for-the-moving-image" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-02-22 11:51:03" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-02-22 00:51:03" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=6852" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [2]=> object(WP_Post)#242 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(6843) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-02-21 14:00:42" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-02-21 03:00:42" ["post_content"]=> string(7358) "Transform is just a few weeks away (Early Bird registration closes this Friday), so we thought it useful to give you a bit of extra background on our speakers. We'll start with Ben Holliday, whose talk is titled "Collective small actions. Service Design in Government". Ben is currently Head of User Experience (UX) for the largest department in UK Government, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). In this role he has established user centred design in the department as part of agile delivery for digital-by-default services. He's built and led the design team over the past two years developing Service Design, Interaction Design, Content Design, and Front-end development "job families". Ben has over 16 years experience delivering design and research for digital products and services. He's previously worked for the Government Digital Service in the UK (GOV.UK) as well as organisations in the arts, not-for-profit, charity, education, and financial sectors. His main focus is now design leadership for organisations and teams. He writes about design and research on his blog and for GOV.UK. Ben also speaks regularly at design, User Experience and public sector conferences. Ben's blog is consistently interesting to read, and probably should be required reading for anyone following the effects of user-centred design on government service delivery. His entries are often about a specific aspect of design suggested to him by something he's seen or read, and which causes him to reflect and offer an insight that puts it in a professional context. He does this from the perspective of a working designer and design manager, very much practising what he preaches. Being both organised and aware that people do read his blog, he's pulled some of his key posts into a page he calls his Playbook. He's sorted this into themed sections, the headings of which alone make a compelling list of topics:
* Focusing on the problem * Collaboration * Iteration * User Research * Data-driven design * Knowing what good looks like
Ben's Playbook: http://www.hollidazed.co.uk/playbook/ Ben has nominated as his own favourite blog post of 2016 an entry called Supersized. Making design work in large organisations, from 19 June. Here's just the opening section:
I’ve spent 20 months growing a design team in the UK government’s largest public sector department. Think of this as a mid-term report and what I’ve already learned working in the education, media, arts, and charity sectors. In government I believe it’s time to go big on design. The same is true for many other sectors and industries. That needs to start with design leadership.

Design leadership

Does your organisation 
have design leadership? I want everyone to think about this question. If you want to be taken seriously at doing user-centred design then you need design leadership. Every organisation needs someone that can drive the change that ultimately delivers better products for people. It’s about taking real responsibility for how well things work. In my opinion the people that get hold of this will be the organisations that build great products that are part of great services. Just to be clear. Design-led thinking doesn’t exclude technology. Instead, it uses technology as an accelerator. A way of delivering ideas and information to more people, more of the time.
Read the rest of the post here: http://www.hollidazed.co.uk/2016/06/19/supersized-making-design-work-in-large-organisations/. Elsewhere, Ben mentions that he worked with Leisa Reichelt, who spoke at last year's Transform (from blog post 19-12-16):
User research should mean, first of all, that we test ourselves. We test our own ideas, and the decisions that we’ve been brave enough to make. We find out if we’re right or wrong when it matters. When people use our products and services. When I worked with Leisa Reichelt at GDS, she explained to our team that: "It’s user research. Not user testing. We don’t test users, we test ourselves” This means that we test our decisions and designs with people. We test against their needs and expectations after making design decisions.
And it's not surprising that Ben also references Tom Loosemore, a driving force in the UK Government's digital transformation, and who gave a rousing closing keynote at Web Directions in 2015 (from blog post 17-03-16):
Let me make it clear. I agree with people like Tom that we haven’t been bold enough in imagining the future of our institutions. That’s real transformation. But, if I’m not able to do anything else, or get anything else done in government, I’ll take any change we can make to the culture of the Civil Service. I would start with ‘openness’. Building the trust between colleagues and citizens, which we’ll need as digital and technology shifts more power away from people towards the state. If automation and better data sharing is the answer then trust and consent needs to be the question.
Ben also devotes a page on his website to books he's found useful, including those referenced in his talks. Again, he's organised the books into sections, the headings of which double as a pretty fair list of topics of interest to him:
* Leadership & creativity * User-centred design * Agile & Lean UX * Research, data & analytics * Designing better organisations
Wherever possible, individual books are linked by title to ways to buy them. Definitely worth browsing: http://www.hollidazed.co.uk/books/. Once you've delved into Ben Holliday's blog, you'll be even keener to sign up to see him at Transform 17. Look forward to seeing you there. Transform 17 " ["post_title"]=> string(43) "Transform 17 Speaker Insights: Ben Holliday" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(42) "transform-17-speaker-insights-ben-holliday" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-02-21 16:34:02" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-02-21 05:34:02" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=6843" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [3]=> object(WP_Post)#241 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(6833) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-02-21 10:00:05" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-02-20 23:00:05" ["post_content"]=> string(7293) "Last week we opened a Call For Proposals to speak at Respond 16, and we mentioned that we provide practical support to our newer speakers. One form this takes is participation in a Speaker Training Workshop, organised by us and run by professional coaches. Last year, Ricky Onsman took the workshop and wrote about it for Scroll magazine.

Speaker Training Workshop

Web Directions is known for being committed to helping web professionals acquire and hone skills, ideas and attitudes that can help them in their working lives. This is most obvious in the major events we organise: conferences and workshops in Australia that bring acknowledged experts from around the world here to share their knowledge, as well as provide a platform for locals to show their insights into their chosen fields. Less well known are the smaller events that Web Directions organises such as “What Do You Know?”, an evening of short, sharp presentations that let speakers test out their ideas and topics on a willing and supportive audience. Speaker Training - What Do You Know? Many WDYK speakers graduate to longer presentations they may give not just at Web Directions conferences but all sorts of public industry events. What this whole process demands, though, is some level of adequacy in two areas that are not necessarily strengths of web professionals: writing and speaking. If you want to give a presentation at a conference – of any sort – you will almost certainly have to prepare a written submission that summarises what you want to talk about and why an audience would be interested. [ NB the next scheduled What Do You Know? is in Canberra on 8 March in the lead-up to the Transform 17 conference. ] Once your submission is accepted, you will then face the challenge of actually delivering the presentation, perhaps on the stage of a large auditorium, under lights, in front of several hundred colleagues and professional peers. This kind of writing and speaking rarely comes naturally to anyone, let alone people who spend much of their working lives staring at a screen. Code? Yes. Markup? Sure. Shoutouts via social media? No worries. Explain your idea to a room of 500 people? Live? On stage? Oh-oh. They are, however, skills that are actually valuable beyond the task of submitting and delivering conference presentations. You may need to prepare written reports for your team leaders and project managers. You may need to front up to team meetings and explain what went right or wrong on a given project. You may need to write formal letters of proposal to prospective clients. You may be asked by a client to speak to a board to convince them to invest in a project. In the last couple of years, Web Directions has held group sessions meant for, and limited to, prospective WDYK speakers where they can focus on and practise their speaking skills. These sessions proved so popular and effective – feedback from participants and what they were eventually able to achieve with their presentations proved the truth of that – that it seemed a good idea to provide this kind of training to anyone in the industry who might be interested. So it was that I turned up to Web Directions HQ just near Central Station in downtown Sydney at 10am on a late February Saturday morning for a Speaker Training Workshop. Along with me were 23 other people who also worked on the web in some way and wanted to test and improve their public speaking. It was a very eclectic bunch, a pretty even male/female split, ages ranging from early 20s to mid-50s (OK, the latter was just me, but there were some people there in their early 40s, at least). Speaker Training Workshop The workshop was run by a mob called Public Speaking For Life in the form of tag team trainers Sarah Ewen and Tarek Said. I say “tag team” because that’s how they ran the day, and a very effective method it was. Sarah would talk to us about voice and how to use it, for example, then Tarek might talk to us about posture, then Sarah on breathing, then Tarek on what to do with your hands. All of that was interspersed by exercises for the participants. The first involved Tarek suggesting a topic – web-related or otherwise – and asking for someone to talk to that topic for 90 seconds. If no-one volunteered, he would call on someone but, although there was sometimes a lengthy pause, everyone volunteered to talk on something. After everyone had spoken – some with confidence, some less so – Sarah then gave us each notes on how we had done. This is a hallmark of their approach – give immediate feedback, make it personal and provide suggestions for improvement. I won’t go into more detail about how Sarah and Tarek ran the rest of the day – they have their professional secrets, after all – but I can say that by the end of the day every single person was more self-aware, more confident, more informed and more positive about themselves as public speakers. Personally, I enjoyed the day immensely. I spent a few years as an actor so probably had a bit of a head start on most of my fellow participants, but then my acting days were also 25 years ago and I really didn’t know how I’d go without having learned a script first. Speaker Ricky Onsman at the workshop All 24 of us gave a 2-minute presentation at the end of the day and I think every single one of us was as amazed at our own evident progress as that of our fellows. There is something about seeing someone who starts as a shy wallflower and ends up speaking boldly and passionately that is both empowering and reassuring. I would heartily recommend this kind of training to anyone who wonders if they have what it takes to get up and address a group of people. If you have trainers of the quality of Sarah and Tarek, I reckon you’ll find that you do – you just need some guidance on what to do and how to handle the situation. Keep your eyes open for more Web Directions Speaker Training Workshops. It won’t surprise you to know we also have plans to offer Writing Workshops in the future. Public Speaking For Life www.publicspeakingforlife.com.au" ["post_title"]=> string(37) "Respond 16: Speaker Training Workshop" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(36) "respond-16-speaker-training-workshop" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-02-21 16:34:24" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-02-21 05:34:24" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=6833" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [4]=> object(WP_Post)#240 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(6819) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-02-20 10:00:17" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-02-19 23:00:17" ["post_content"]=> string(4810) "Friday sees the end of the Early Bird discount for the first Web Directions conference of the year, Transform 2017 in Canberra on 29-30 March. Which is a great time to revisit the closing keynote address from last year's Transform. Jared Spool certainly knows how to deliver a talk.

Beyond the UX Tipping Point

Jared Spool, Founder, User Interface Engineering

Jared Spool, Transform 16

Key points

It used to be that delivering a “good” experience was enough. Now, users expect a “great” experience. The UX Tipping Point is when an organisation no longer compromises on well-designed user experiences, and design has become an embedded part of their culture and DNA. To go beyond the Tipping Point, an organisation has to change its design culture to commit to experiences that delight users. The Disney theme parks are an example of evolving a design culture within 10 years from a barely usable website to a wristband that shapes a delightful user experience through the clever use of technology. the Disney band Successful UX is built on systems that are designed to be flexible and adapt to changing situations, not processes designed to operate the same way every time.
"A culture of continuous learning provides development of a deep understanding of customer needs."

Takeaways

People learn UX design by growing from unconscious incompetence (they don’t know what they don’t know) to conscious incompetence (they know what they don’t know), to conscious competence (they know what they know), and finally to unconscious competence (they don’t know what they know). Transform 16 As people move between those stages they progress from literacy to fluency and finally to mastery. Organisations need to grow their UX design efforts from UX Design as a Service, to Embedded UX Design, to Infused UX Design. We need a playbook, filled with plays, that get us to being a design-driven organisation.
"A team’s growth stage is the stage of the most immature infuencer."

Caveats

To change culture, start telling different stories. If you feel like you’re not going fast enough, you’re probably moving at the right speed. Products need to work, meet needs AND delight users. Creating enhanced user experiences can be expensive, but the returns are proportionate. Learning something new should be the thing that drives us.
"Uber taught us that creepy can be cool.”"
Jared Spool, Transform 16

Resources

@jmspool website slides

Tweets

Jared Spool tweets, Transform 16 Jared Spool tweets, Transform 16 Jared Spool tweets, Transform 16 Jared Spool tweets, Transform 16 These extracts are taken from Wrap magazine, the free digital magazine we publish after every conference that summarises every presentation (and a bit more). You are welcome to download this and every issue of Wrap. Transform 2016 took place at Old Parliament House in Canberra, 18-19 May 2016.  " ["post_title"]=> string(54) "Transform 16: Beyond the UX Tipping Point, Jared Spool" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(48) "transform-16-beyond-ux-tipping-point-jared-spool" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-02-21 16:34:42" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-02-21 05:34:42" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=6819" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [5]=> object(WP_Post)#239 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(6802) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-02-17 10:00:03" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-02-16 23:00:03" ["post_content"]=> string(16359) "It seems that the number one New Year's resolution this year  (as covered in mainstream media, at least) was the "digital detox". Then there was the digital detox backlash ("say 'digital detox' one more time ..."). And in various podcasts I've listened to of late (more on podcasts shortly), really intelligent, successful people I admire like Ezra Klein (founder of Vox, blogger turned Washington Post journalist among many other things) and Kara Swisher (also founder of a media company, and also a journalist) and Stewart Butterfield (co-founder of Flickr and Slack) have all lamented how they are addicted to social media like Twitter and the immediate dopamine hit of updates, the sense that you're on top of a stream of important things that are constantly happening, or managing the sense of anxiety that comes with the sense you are missing out. I'm sure they are far from alone in feeling this (I also noted in each case this was not an judgement by these folks about what they saw in other people, but what they saw in themselves). But today I want to tell you a little story about how my relationship with digital media has changed, quite markedly, without an overarching deliberate plan in recent weeks and months. At no point did I decide to detox, or even to change they way I use my time to consume information. And yet … It starts with a significant change to the pattern of my days about three years ago. I live about 75 minutes (on a good day) outside Sydney, and for years I worked from home, travelling into the office a couple of days a week. But the truth was I was always at home, and always at work: never really properly focused on either. Work leaked into weekends, domestic duties into the working day. The change toward a clear demarcation between work and home life really has been beneficial to both, but that's not the focus of this piece. My commute involves a drive of about 25 minutes, a walk and then about a 40 minute train ride. For a year or so after I started the daily commute, I'd get in the car, and listen to Radio National–serious, important, very politically focused news and opinion. On my half hour drive there'd be two or three experts speaking on the issues of the day, an interview with a member of the government or opposition, super concentrated news reports on whatever was so important that day. I was keeping up with what was important, staying informed with the serious issues that mattered. On my 10 or so minute walk from the car to the train station I'd read Twitter, then Facebook, then back to Twitter. Twitter I mostly use professionally, so it felt like work - what are we all talking about today? What inflammatory article about native versus web has someone posted that I need to respond to? On the train, ostensibly I'd look at email, perhaps look at my RSS feed, dipping into Twitter and Facebook again. And I'd arrive at work already exhausted, my focus atomised into tiny fragments of time. My commute home was in many ways the reverse, and then at home - in between spending time with the kids, getting them ready for bed, sitting with them, reading to them - I'd snack on more Twitter, maybe a bit of Facebook, my time sliced and diced into a minute or two here for one of the kids, a minute or two for an update. I know, right? Writing this down now, it seems incredibly unhealthy, but at the time it didn't at all. It simply felt like life. Then, a bit over a year ago, I was planning to visit Japan for the first time in a couple of years (ironically, the trip didn't eventuate). It pains me to say that having visited Japan perhaps as many as eight times in the last few years, I speak barely a word of Japanese. And so it made sense to use my drive to perhaps learn a little. Every day on the way to work (and typically on the way home, too) I'd do a 30 minute lesson. Now, my drive was less of a focus on the breathless excitement of whatever issue of the day seemed so vitally important to the nation that we'd all forget in a week. My other activities seemed to be affected by this change. I found myself using the commute time better - or at least, to be less focused on these minute slices of time, and more on reading longer pieces. Later in the year, when the Japan trip fell through, I cast around for ways in which to use the drive without reverting to the frenetic, anxiety inducing drive-time news. I can't exactly recall why but I started listening to podcasts, and found they fit the bill perfectly. Some would last me a week, 30 or so minutes at a time (Sam Harris at times has fascinating, several hour long discursive conversations with extraordinary people like the physicist Max Tegmark). I don't think I've listened to news radio more than a handful of times in a year or more now. I honestly can say too, as someone who's always had a very broad range of interests in science, the humanities and, increasingly, business, I've probably added to my range of interests and knowledge more in the last year than in the entire previous decade. I also found myself on my home commute sadly not infrequently having to stand for 40 minutes or so. Physically I almost prefer this, having sat at a desk a lot during the day, but being trapped with just a small screen, and the myriad social media apps thereon meant 40 minutes of frenetic consumption of fragments of information. Now, as many folks with young families will tell you, watching television and movies becomes a challenge. But with the arrival of Netflix in Australia, I found myself watching initially movies, then series (never a huge fan of superheroes, Marvel nonetheless sucked me in with the really well written, acted and made Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Daredevil). And it turns out one episode is almost exactly my train commute home. But Twitter and Facebook were still woven into my life, particularly before going to sleep, when I woke during the night with an unsettled child, and first thing in the morning (an early riser, I'd find myself reading tweets and posts and tweets for half an hour or more many a morning). Just before Christmas, after reading something late at night that somewhat spiked the cortisol levels I simply deleted the Facebook app from my phone. Because I rarely take my laptop out of the bag while home, and as I was on a break over the holiday period, I simply didn't look at Facebook for several days. When I did, it was an act of volition: open the laptop, login, open facebook.com. And yet, I barely felt its absence. My Twitter use (in fairness, several multiples of my Facebook use, by any measure) continued largely unchanged, until about a week after returning to work, when more by choice (though still not part of a grander "digital detox" plan) than on impulse I deleted the Twitter app from my phone as well. Now, I've used Twitter extensively for over a decade. It's been an integral part of my professional life for all that time. I've posted over 39,000 times, and spent literally countless hours reading tweets. From being always no more than a few seconds away, woven more directly into my life than almost anything else, Twitter went to being something I needed to access on a laptop, with an act of volition, and no small friction. I'd estimate my use has dropped more than 90% (in terms of time spent staring at Twitter onscreen). And yet, for something so integral to my professional - and to a reasonable extent - personal life as well, this really considerable decrease lead to no real withdrawal symptoms. The time I would spend frittered on Twitter is much more purposefully used now. I have long had a roster of "go to" longer form writing sites, and sites which suggest deeper more engaging pieces of writing, but for the first time in possibly years I've added to these (I list some suggestions at the end of this piece). And my overall time spent looking at a screen has fallen significantly, too. What's interesting to me as I reflect on it is not actually that my time spent in front of screens has dropped significantly. More interesting is that the average amount of time I spend on any given chunk of information has risen extraordinarily, from seconds to low minutes per engagement (a tweet, Facebook post) to tens of minutes – longer form writing, books, TV episodes (sometimes more than one even, late at night after everyone else has gone to sleep), movies. I don't think it's too long a bow to draw to observe that if there's been a macro trend in what we horribly term "content consumption" over the last 20 years or so, it has been toward shorter and shorter chunks (the album was atomised into individual tracks, blog posts became tweets and Facebook posts, articles became listicles, TV shows became YouTube videos). These are trends driven by economics, and the rise of mobile devices, creating whole new chunks of our time where previously we would rarely if ever have consumed information (walking along a street, waiting for an elevator), or consumed it very differently (in the car listening to radio, as opposed to glancing at social media while stopped at traffic lights). It's also driven by fundamental human brain physiology. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is associated with many brain functions, and has long been associated with our sense of pleasure (though we are realising now it's perhaps more closely associated with our sense of want–for food, physical pleasure, or other reward). Its role in habit formation and addictive behaviours is being increasingly studied in relation to social media use, and product designers deliberately design interactions that are habit forming, and which hijack this aspect of human psychology. But perhaps there's another macro trend emerging, a swing from atomised, momentary interactions to these longer kinds of engagement with information. With video: not just from short viral pieces to 40 minute ad-free episodes, but whole series consumed over a week or even a weekend. With music: from songs back to albums, or the entire body of work by an artist. With the written word: from tweeted screen grabs of one or two paragraphs and listicles to five thousand word long form articles and entire books (there;s also the intersting possibly related phenomenon of a return to the printed book over ebooks). From febrile five-minute radio interviews with experts about the issue du jour, to hour(s) long discursive conversations on podcasts. Not for a moment do I make the claim that we'll abandon tweets and Facebook posts, Snapchat, and Instagram, and the myriad other short form, continuous streams of information that have so profoundly changed our lives (and the economics of the media) this last 10 to 15 years. But I see some hope (yes, a value judgement, there) that this type of consumption (and creation) might find a counterbalance in longer, more complex, considered pieces of work. Certainly, my personal experience is I feel less anxious in the weeks since I largely accidentally, and certainly with no master plan, diminished my day-to-day use of social media. And over the year to 18 months that I've made longer form, less time sensitive media more central to my life, I feel I've learned more and been exposed to many more ideas than I have for years now.

Places I find interesting things to read

Here are some places I frequently - indeed, habitually - check in to find interesting longer form reading across science, economics, business and the arts.

3 Quarks Daily

Eclectic well chosen excerpts of interesting longer-form articles. A destination in itself, or jumping off point for further reading.

Aeon

Original longer form articles on matters cultural and scientific.

Long Reads

Both summarises and links to high quality long form writing across a broad spectrum, as well as commissioning original writing.

Marginal Revolution

The long running site of the polymathic Tyler Cohen, that I imagine as the cheat sheet for the the American intellectual classes. Find yourself at a cocktail party in New York or Washington? You'll never feel out of the loop if you read this.

Brain Pickings

I can't find a way to describe this that does it any justice nor indeed even makes sense. A continuous jumping off point for making yourself a better human, in every way.

The New Yorker

I subscribe to the print edition (it's my parents' annual gift to me, one I genuinely cherish). Highly recommended.

Stratechery

I pay Ben Thompson every month for his daily insights into the business of technology. An antidote to the breathless announcements of funding rounds and product launches that characterise much of the business/technology 'press', it's considered, thematic thoughtful writing, with ideas that evolve over weeks, months and even years (see "aggregation theory"). But there's also a free weekly post and a podcast, Exponent (see below).

Podcasts I listen to regularly

I'm aware that below are almost all male voices. I'm always looking for recommendations, so please do add any in the comments, particularly for non-white-male podcasters.

Exponent

The moment an episode drops, I listen. Around an hour, each week, where Ben (Stratechery) Thompson and James Allworth discuss ideas at the intersection of business and technology.

Ezra Klein Show

Ezra Klein was a student political blogger who took political blogging mainstream at the Washington Post. He co-founded Vox media, and among many other things has this podcast where he has hour-long or more conversations with some of the most interesting people on earth, in business, technology, culture, science and politics.

Recode/Decode

Kara Swisher is in many ways similar to Ezra Klein, though from a slightly earlier generation. Journalist turned media empire founder, she similarly interviews leaders in business, technology, media, and politics.

Tim Ferriss

Yes, he's beloved by many of the Silicon Valley "bro" types. I find myself from time to time quoting my favourite line from the film "The Castle" aloud to him in my car, "Get your hand off it, Darryl". He could up the number of women he interviews several fold. But you'll also find numerous very interesting folks interviewed in a very relaxed style. Dumpster dive through the back catalogues – there's definitely valuable conversations there.

Revisionist History

Malcolm Gladwell polarises, but I've long found his writing stimulating, and very readable. Revisionist History is quite different from most the podcasts I listen to - in essence, they are short, highly produced radio shows, around 25 minutes each, tied together by a theme: what do we think we know well, something uncontroversial, that maybe we don't know well at all? I suspect the future of podcasting, at least a big part of it, looks more than a little like this.

Wonderland

In a similar vein, by the author of one of my favourite books ever, The Ghost Map, Steven Johnson, is Wonderland, a series of terrifically produced radio shows, only around 20 minutes each. Each episode explores an aspect associated with his recently published book – Wonderland: How Play Shaped the Modern World. From the first video game at Berkeley in the late '60s, to the origins of bouncing balls, you'll learn more than a little each episode. Like hopefully everything on this list, you'll go away smarter, not dumber, by listening." ["post_title"]=> string(20) "Not My Digital Detox" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(20) "not-my-digital-detox" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-02-21 16:34:56" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-02-21 05:34:56" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=6802" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [6]=> object(WP_Post)#238 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(6806) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-02-17 09:10:58" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-02-16 22:10:58" ["post_content"]=> string(848) "But we can't. And, on reflection, perhaps that's not a bad thing. Nevertheless, if we're to continue to not just provide you with valuable events, news and conferences, but to keep doing it better every year, we need to know what best suits your needs and preferences. And so, the survey. This survey is short (promise!) and by completing it, you'll have the chance to win a ticket to a Web Directions event of your choice in 2017. That - if you have a look through our upcoming events - is a pretty good incentive, I think you'll agree. Anyway, we'd really appreciate it if you took the few minutes needed to help us keep improving. Thanks!" ["post_title"]=> string(31) "We Wish We Could Read Your Mind" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(14) "wish-read-mind" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-02-21 16:35:09" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-02-21 05:35:09" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=6806" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [7]=> object(WP_Post)#237 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(6798) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-02-16 13:39:19" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-02-16 02:39:19" ["post_content"]=> string(1037) "Web Directions has opened a Call For Proposals from people interested in speaking at Respond 2017. Respond is our Front End Design Conference, taking place in Sydney (4-5 May), Melbourne (8-9 May) and this year also in Brisbane (12 May). We're accepting proposals for 20 minute talks up til 1 March, so now is the time to develop that idea for a talk you've been thinking about, and get it in to us. We've prepared a webpage with everything you need to know about submitting a proposal. Take a look, have a think about it and of course you can always contact us with any queries you might have. Respond 2017" ["post_title"]=> string(49) "Call For Proposals to Speak at Respond 2017 Opens" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(39) "call-proposals-speak-respond-2017-opens" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-02-21 16:35:20" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-02-21 05:35:20" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=6798" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [8]=> object(WP_Post)#236 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(6809) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-02-15 10:00:40" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-02-14 23:00:40" ["post_content"]=> string(4137) "

You might have already scanned what's in store at Transform 17, but I just want to highlight five great reasons why you should join us this year.

 
 Ben Holliday, Transform 17 International speakers  A digitally informed transformation of government service delivery is happening all over the world. Let's learn from international experiences. Ben HollidayDan SheldonAriel Kennan
 
Australian speakers  Government service delivery systems are very much shaped by local circumstances. We need an informed Australian perspective to bring about lasting change. Sarah AtkinsonJenny HunterBrian Dargan & Luke Hymers  Sarah Atkinson, Transform 17
 
 Case Studies, Transform 17 Case studies Finding out what works and what doesn't in real world situations with impacts on real people brings a practical perspective that's hard to find elsewhere. Various
 
Workshops  Listening and watching is great, but getting a bit hands-on delivers a different kind of learning experience, especially with a group of like-minded peers. Part I: Dan Sheldon, Part II: Sarah Atkinson  Workshop, Transform 17
 
 Networking, Transform 17 Networking You know from last year that we structure our events so there's room to take in what you've just seen and compare notes with your fellow attendees. Priceless.
Early bird registration gives you $100 off the full price Early bird closes Friday 24 February Come and join us in Canberra at the end of next month." ["post_title"]=> string(39) "Five Reasons to Join Us at Transform 17" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(33) "five-reasons-join-us-transform-17" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-02-21 16:35:33" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-02-21 05:35:33" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=6809" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [9]=> object(WP_Post)#235 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(6788) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-02-14 12:47:13" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-02-14 01:47:13" ["post_content"]=> string(3027) "You know it. You've felt it. You go to conferences, workshops, meetups, events of all kinds where people get up and talk and give you insights into their work - and your own - that you'd never get from anywhere else. And you can't help thinking to yourself, "I could do that. I could give a conference talk." And you know what? You're right! That's pretty much how all those speakers you like got started. They watched others speak, they thought about what they could offer in a presentation, and they submitted a proposal to a conference. Now, that's exactly the step we're at with Respond, Australia's Front End Design Design Conference. Respond 2017 We've just opened up our Call For Proposal for Respond 2017, the conference taking place in Sydney (4-5 May), Melbourne (8-9 May) and now Brisbane (12 May). If you already know the Respond conference, you'll know that we offer a mixture of full length presentations (featuring high profile international and Australian speakers) and shorter 20 minute talks (featuring local speakers, often up on stage for the first time). If you work in any way with front end design (and let's face it, these days "responsive design" really just means "design") and you don't know Respond - well, you should. Catch up with some previous years here and here. We make it as easy as possible to submit a proposal and, importantly, we give successful applicants as much support as we can to deliver well-structured, polished and engaging presentations. The key date to note is Wednesday 1 March 2017 - that is the closing date for submissions. We'll then let you know whether you've been successful by Monday 6 March, and we'll start helping you get ready. There is, of course, some detail to take into account so we've prepared a webpage with everything you need to know, including an easy-to-complete form to submit your proposal. We take seriously our responsibility to give local industry folks a chance to get up and talk about what they want to share with colleagues and peers, and take an active role in our suite of conferences and related events. Please do take a moment to review the webpage and consider submitting a proposal to talk at Respond 17. We hope to hear from you soon. conference lectern" ["post_title"]=> string(37) "Release Your Inner Conference Speaker" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(37) "release-your-inner-conference-speaker" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-02-21 16:35:42" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-02-21 05:35:42" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=6788" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [10]=> object(WP_Post)#234 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(6774) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-02-13 10:10:19" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-02-12 23:10:19" ["post_content"]=> string(4278) "As we approach the first Web Directions conference of the year, Transform 2017 in Canberra on 29-30 March, we're going to remind you of the talks from the first Transform conference in 2016. These extracts are taken from Wrap, the free digital magazine we publish after every conference that summarises every presentation (and a bit more). You are welcome to download this and every issue of Wrap. Transform 2016 took place at Old Parliament House in Canberra, 18-19 May 2016. 

Transforming Government Communication and Content

Dan Hon, Director of Content, Code for America

Dan Hon

Key points

40% of Californians eligible for the US food stamps program were not receiving the benefits they were entitled to. 62% of people signing up online gave up because the process, requiring answers to 100-200 questions that can take several hours, was too hard. After all that, most applications were not approved, often due to errors or omissions in the application. Even though everyone agrees food stamps are a good thing, the process for obtaining them denied those who were often the most needy AND the least able to handle a complex online process. Government lags behind the commercial world: 17 minutes on hold to reschedule an appointment versus the Uber’s onboarding process.
"Government really matters because it’s the last resort."
Dan Hon, Transform 16

Takeaways

Service content needs to be purpose-designed, taking into account specific user needs. Compassionate design is empathetic and understanding of users’ needs, limitations and aspirations. The low income users who rely the most on government services use more mobile devices than desktop or laptop, yet the websites are not responsive. When we talk about meeting user needs we should mean real user needs, not made up marketing messages. The hard work is on us to make their lives easier. That is the deal we made when we decided to work in government. The battleship approach has to be broken down in an agile, iterative way that addresses researched user needs.
"Just slow down and take the time to write simply, clearly and in plain English."
Dan Hon, Transform 16

Caveats

When users put in the effort and are not rewarded with outcomes, they give up. Even when it comes to entitlements. Content isn’t just a thing that is written. It’s something that has to be designed. Writing is part of the content design process but it’s not what you start with. Policy and delivery must sit together. Digital transformation is hard work: really, really hard work. But not impossible. Dam Hon, Transform 16

Resources

@hondanhon website

Tweets

Dan Hon tweets Dan Hon tweets Dan Hon tweets " ["post_title"]=> string(72) "Transform 16: Transforming Government Communication and Content, Dan Hon" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(66) "transform-16-transforming-government-communication-content-dan-hon" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-02-21 16:35:51" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-02-21 05:35:51" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=6774" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [11]=> object(WP_Post)#233 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(6764) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-02-10 14:51:51" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-02-10 03:51:51" ["post_content"]=> string(5506) "

Things I've Been Reading

A fortnightly collection of links to online articles, news and resources of interest to people working on the web.

Automating Visual Testing

At Web Directions events we frequently cover testing and a key to this is, of course, automation (see also Atul Gawande's Checklist Manifesto, which we mentioned in a newsletter last year and was the foundation for a great presentation by Jeremy Nagel at Web Directions 2015, "Checklist Driven Development" [you can watch the popular 20 minute video here]) but an area I don't see talked about all that much is automated visual regression testing. There are a number of tools, like PhantomCSS (covered in detail in this SitePoint article) and hosted services like SiteEffect, but this week I stumbled across an article by Tom Partington at REA on Automated visual checking of deployments with ImageMagick. See how they ensure "greater confidence that each continuous deployment of our home page is issue free."

Inherent Value Testing

"Is your web site chartered with encouraging people to buy or use your product or service? Is it succeeding? It turns out there is a simple usability testing technique that can help you measure how your site communicates your product’s inherent value." Jared Spool, who spoke at last year's inaugural Transform conference, considers how we look for not what's broken about our site (or company's service), but what isn't, in this article about what he terms 'inherent value testing'. When services undergo significant change (as LinkedIn has recently done in terms of its UI), its most loyal users often react strongly to the movement of their cheese. Jared considers how we can identify and ensure the inherent values of our offerings when considering change.

Creating Good Content in Government

"Government has a complicated relationship with content. We publish too much, information can be hard to understand, and users often find it hard to work out what we are asking them to do. Research shows that 50% of users of government services experience difficulty finding information online. Of those, 24% resort to making a telephone call.* This is despite the hard work that many Australian public servant content and web teams do on a daily basis." So, how can folks in Government - and anywhere, really - do better? Libby Varcoe, Content Community Lead at the Digital Transformation Agency and Darren Menachemson from ThinkPlace look at some practical techniques in this piece published this week.

Things I've Been Listening To

Atul Gawande, whose "Checklist Manifesto" I referred to above in conversation with Ezra Klein, founder of Vox Magazine. Gawande is also a feature writer for the New Yorker, a surgeon, and a self confessed health care policy wonk, who worked on campaigns for Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Gary Hart. Klein's podcast is full of fascinating conversations with a huge variety of extraordinary people (another recent favourite is his conversation with Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield, also founder of Flickr and the original 5K competition). I know, I know - lots of men talking with each other, but there are some great interviews with women there too." ["post_title"]=> string(21) "Weekend Reading Links" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(21) "weekend-reading-links" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-02-21 16:36:08" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-02-21 05:36:08" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=6764" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [12]=> object(WP_Post)#232 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(6727) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-02-06 16:54:45" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-02-06 05:54:45" ["post_content"]=> string(4667) "As we approach the first Web Directions conference of the year, Transform 2017 in Canberra on 29-30 March, we're going to remind you of the talks from the first Transform conference in 2016. These extracts are taken from Wrap magazine, the free digital magazine we publish after every conference that summarises every presentation (and a bit more). You are welcome to download this and every issue of Wrap. Transform 2016 took place at Old Parliament House in Canberra, 18-19 May 2016. 

Redesigning the Citizen Experience

Dana Chisnell, Design researcher, US Digital Service

Dana Chisnell

Key points

Authentication is a serious problem for users, a major obstacle to getting things done, yet is a requirement for interacting with government online. In 2013, healthcare.gov was launched, a centrepiece of the US President’s health insurance program. On the first day, 2.8 million people were unable to sign up because the user authentication system failed. The US Digital Service was established as a result.

Healthcare: Dana Chisnell

The 20th century notion that it’s less risky to define the system completely upfront, to know everything and then make it, no longer fits. Online services have to be designed to be agile and iterative to respond to changing user needs. Governments need to stop using technology as a tool for supporting the administration of government, and start being a user-focused service delivery mechanism that’s infused with technology.
"Authentication might be the most despised form in information technology."

Takeaways

Government is in the business of building and maintaining systems for service delivery. The service is actually a designed experience, whether we intentionally designed it or not. We need to deliver better small things, which - when combined - make better overall systems. The way that government delivers value is through continuous delivery and continuous improvement of digital and information technology phased services. Redesigning the citizen experience happens at every single layer, and reusable open-source components make development and delivery faster and more reliable. There is an obvious, immediate and achievable goal in coordinating user authentication across government departments.
"Start digital transformation with the back end first."

Caveats

It’s not (only) about money. US federal agencies spend $80 billion a year on IT. That should deliver amazing service, but anyone who has interacted with government knows this isn’t true. Transform 16 Dana Chisnell Hope is not a strategy for launching software. Managing user authentication is not just a tech issue, it’s a people issue. Don’t tell people about the value of design - demonstrate it. It turns out that democracy is actually a design problem.

Resources

@danachis website slides

Tweets

" ["post_title"]=> string(63) "Transform 16: Redesigning the Citizen Experience, Dana Chisnell" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(57) "transform-16-redesigning-citizen-experience-dana-chisnell" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-02-21 16:36:15" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-02-21 05:36:15" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=6727" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [13]=> object(WP_Post)#934 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(6713) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-02-03 10:45:44" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-02-02 23:45:44" ["post_content"]=> string(7133) "Pebble Watches The work of Geoffrey Moore and his chasm theory is less well known now than it was a decade ago, although terms he coined or popularised like 'early adopter' and 'early majority' continue to find widespread use. But, if anything, Moore's work is more relevant now. In the late 1980s, Moore (not to be confused with intel and Moore's law's Gordon Moore) focused on the uptake of technological innovation. He observed that new technologies often have an early, meteoric rise in adoption - a phase Moore termed the 'tornado'  - only to falter before spectacularly crashing (early Web 'push' technologies come to mind here), or after a period of lacklustre growth continuing on their path until eventually becoming ubiquitous. Moore described such technologies as having 'crossed the chasm' (hence the title of his book 'crossing the chasm' and the idea of 'Chasm Theory'). One common mistake people sometimes make when reasoning about technology adoption is to confuse technologies with a specific instances of a technology (for example social media with MySpace.) While at times entire technologies fail to cross the chasm, Moore was focusing on specific implementations of a technology (in essence, on products). This is one way in which Chasm Theory is quite distinct from Gartner's 'hype cycle', which focuses on the adoption of technologies as a whole. All of which brings me to Pebble, the early smart watch company that closed its doors late last year. Moore's Chasm Theory has a lot to say about why the darling of early adopters, with its hugely successful Kickstarter campaigns (plural) couldn't turn the passion (and money) of those campaigns into a sustainable business. Pebble is an almost text book case of Chasm Theory: the tornado of early adoption, the chasm after the initial early heady days, the chasm uncrossed. But why? Moore observes that, at different stages of the adoption of new technologies, different kinds of customers acquire the product for quite distinct reasons. The early adopter is an adventurer, an enthusiast, someone who despite the rough edges, perhaps even because of them, buys a Parrot drone, experiments with HTML (in the early 1990s), or buys a very expensive Apricot (or other fruit oriented PC) in the early 1980s. Early adopters aren't looking to solve a specific problem. They're interested in the technology for its own sake, to see what it might do. These were Pebble's customers. The chasm comes when these pioneers have bought, when the excitement has somewhat worn off. That's when the really hard work starts. So where does that growth come from? Moore observed the next, and much larger, category of customer - those he termed the 'early majority' - are pragmatic rather than idealistic. They want a product to do a job (in Clayton Christienson's 'Jobs Theory' formulation). They want it to solve a specific problem, to meet a well understood need. They are looking for a product, not a technology. It strikes me that Pebble, despite newer versions refining the physical device and addressing the technological shortcomings of the original classic early adopters' device, never managed to become a solution to a need of a pragmatic customer. Pebble created a great technology, not a great end product. There's an interesting parallel with Apple Watch. The first incarnation, despite the obviously far greater focus on refinement, finish, and design than the original Pebble, was similarly an early adopter's product. With the second version of the Watch, Apple now focuses on a specific 'job to be done'– health and fitness tracking. This job, as something of an early adopter and intermittent 'quantified self' practitioner myself, I had originally earmarked as a reason to acquire an original Apple Watch. But its lack of waterproofing, poor heart rate detection, and sluggishness in response to user input put many like me off. It wasn't up to the job we wanted to hire it for. Other companies, too - both more traditional "wearables" (although we didn't use this term until recently) manufacturers focused on athletes, like Suunto and Garmin, and more consumer level products like those from Fitbit - have, of course, clearly staked out a claim in this space. It seems health and fitness are the only sufficiently important jobs as yet to drive etch-like wearable adoption. Meanwhile, many general purpose wearables based on the Android platform have come and gone. Which leads to the question: will the watch be the model for general wearable computing? It's widely considered that it will be. But as with many visions of the future, we're often constrained by how we thought about the future in the past (I've talked about this idea of "jetpack futurism" before, in relation to Google Glass, but it is a common anti-pattern when thinking about the future). Why bring that up now? Like video phone calls and voice activation (as well as jetpacks and flying cars), wristwatch computers have long been a staple of our vision of the future. But our visions of the future aren't always how the future arrives. After initially being very skeptical of Apples' delayed but now shipping Airpod wireless in-ear speakers, my instinct is perhaps the next wave of computing after mobile may not be onto our wrists (after all ownership of watches has fallen significantly from an almost mandatory item of apparel a generation ago to, at best, a signifier of status) but into our ears. I also think mobile may be more difficult to displace from the primary job of personal computing devices for many people these days – killing time – than some might believe. Initially in quite obvious ways, but through inexorable miniaturisation, and the increase in battery life brought about by Moore's (Gordon not Geoffrey) and Koomey's laws, increasingly unobtrusively until we all have Daredevil–like super powers of hearing. But what do such auditory interfaces 'look' like? Don't say 'Siri'. It seems to me this is a field ripe for exploration and opportunity." 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This tapped into discussions across the globe around digital transformation: drawing on the opportunities provided by emerging technologies to change for the better the way governments communicate with their citizens. Transform was a great success and is now a part of our annual line-up of conferences. Transform 2017 will take place on 29-30 March at the National Museum in Canberra. Digital transformation is not, after all, a one-off exercise – it’s a continuous process that represents an inevitable shift from our analogue past to a digital future. The transformation of government services will run into obstacles and challenges and we must find ways to overcome them, all while dealing with the vagaries and nuances of the political systems that underpin – and sometimes impede – the delivery of government services and information. Why Transform? Transform brings you speakers from around the world who are themselves practitioners. Transform is not about theories and hypotheses – it’s about those who do the work sharing their knowledge with you to improve outcomes for consumers, agencies, organisations and government itself. Whether you're in Federal, State or Local Government, or work with governments of any level to deliver services, Transform will put your own experiences in perspective, bring you new ways of looking at your own challenges and keep you up-to-date with all kinds of developments in government service design and delivery. Speakers There’s plenty of detail on speakers and their talks on the Transform website – including the full schedule – but, in brief: Not just a conference While Day Two of Transform will be given over to our five main speakers plus a series of case studies, Day One will feature a full-day workshop in two parts that will let you get a little more hands-on. In the morning, Dan Sheldon will lead you through A survival guide for digital government, taking an “honest look at the way government works and how to deliver value despite of it. If you're a digital practitioner, this session will equip you to deal with the world around you while staying sane.” Sarah Atkinson takes over for the afternoon session on Real World Transformation, in which you’ll be introduced to “tools and techniques which form the foundation of affecting transformation, bringing to life behaviours and characteristics underpinning the Digital Services Standard”. Together, these two sessions comprise a full day we're calling The Transformation Playbook. More! Stay in contact with us on this - as we get closer to the date, you’ll see there’s even more to Transform than we’ve just described. Register now to save Registrations for Transform 2017 are open now. Until 22 February, you can register for both the conference and workshop for just $999 (GST inclusive), a saving of $100 off the regular ticket price. Discounts are also available until 22 Feb for conference-only and workshop-only tickets. Limited Tickets Please be aware that there are limited tickets available for Transform 2017, due to the size of the venue. We do expect this conference to sell out, and we recommend you book early to make sure of your seat. Is this for you? Transform is not just for people working in government. It’s really for anyone with a stake in how governments deliver information and services to citizens. That’s a topic that affects an awful lot of people, including some of the most vulnerable in our community and some of the least able to deal with the sometimes over-complicated or archaic system currently in place. We encourage attendance by people working with and for government departments and agencies, but also not-for-profit organisations, community-based groups, consumer advocacy groups, researchers and academics. The kind of jobs held by Transform attendees range from senior management to the coalface, including service designers, web designers, front end developers, product owners, product designers, UX experts, user researchers, interaction designers, agile and transformation coaches and independent professionals. Need some concrete evidence? Last year’s Transform 2016 featured eight wonderful speakers representing USA, the UK, New Zealand, Australia (national), New South Wales, the Northern Territory and South Australia. Just to whet your appetite for 2017, you’ll find links on the Transform 2017 website to videos of the full presentations last year by the US Digital Service's Dana Chisnell, Code for America's Dan Hon, and the Australian DTO's Leisa Reichelt. You can also download a free copy of our digital post-conference magazine Wrap, with details of every 2016 presentation plus a few extras. We’ll have plenty more to say about Transform 2017 in coming weeks but, in the meantime, let us know if you have any enquiries." ["post_title"]=> string(27) "Transform 2017 - The Launch" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(21) "transform-2017-launch" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-02-21 16:36:33" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-02-21 05:36:33" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=6707" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } } ["post_count"]=> int(15) ["current_post"]=> int(-1) ["in_the_loop"]=> bool(false) ["post"]=> object(WP_Post)#244 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(6860) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-02-23 10:00:30" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-02-22 23:00:30" ["post_content"]=> string(10513) "Early Bird registration for our Transform conference has just been extended by a week to Friday 3 March. That's all the excuse we need give you some insight into our next featured speaker, Ariel Kennan, whose talk is titled “Making Public Services Effective and Accessible“. Ariel Kennan is Director, Design and Product at the Center for Economic Opportunity for the New York City Mayor’s Office. Her team is improving service delivery and advancing equity and opportunity for all New Yorkers through service design and building the best in class digital products. Her work includes service design, digital strategy and policy, mobile applications, websites, and media installations with a wide variety of cultural, corporate, and government partners. She is an alumna of Parsons School of Design and has held fellowships with Code for America and the Center for Urban Pedagogy. Ariel Kennan Ariel summarised how she arrived at her current position in a January 2017 interview with Doreen Lorenzo for FastCo Design:
"I first came to New York City to go to Parsons’ Integrated Design program, which was one of the first design school programs in the United States to embrace a multidisciplinary perspective. They knew that in order to solve the world’s hardest problems, designers needed to work with people from multiple disciplines. After college, I went on to work for ESI Design, where I had the opportunity to design a new city in China. From that point on, I knew I wanted to build and design things for cities. Because government controls a lot of what happens in cities, I knew I better understand how it all works. So I applied and was accepted to the Code for America fellowship program. Code for America helped me gain the vocabulary, knowledge, and expertise to have an informed conversation about what drives change in an urban context, along with the core design skills that I already had. So when I came home to New York City, Mayor de Blasio was just taking office. I had seen him speak previously and was so impressed. From there, I knew I wanted to serve my city."
Originally published: https://www.fastcodesign.com/3067006/designing-women/how-ariel-kennan-solves-nycs-most-intractable-design-problems Ariel gave an idea of the kind of projects she works on in an interview with Dave Seliger for Conscious magazine:
"I’ve been very fortunate to work on a lot of cool projects, everything from giant LED signs in Times Square to media installations in retail stores and museums. I even worked on a new city in China several years ago. But in the last couple years I’ve been working directly with local governments. When I was a fellow at Code for America, I worked with the mayors and their staff in Kansas City, KS and Kansas City, MO. I’m really proud of the technology we built over the course of the year to help the city better serve entrepreneurs, but most of all I’m proud of the larger community and government change that we helped create – not only through community organising, but helping the governments write policy and create new roles within the government itself. To me that was a much bigger, lasting impact than any single app could achieve."
Originally published: http://consciousmagazine.co/innovating-gotham-ariel-kennan/ Ariel Kennan In that same interview, Ariel showed her understanding of one aspect of government service delivery when she commented:
"Government is full of people who are incredibly well intentioned and who want to improve our cities. But sometimes I think public servants get held back by the larger systems of government, like procurement, human resources, and technology delivery. I’m really interested in how to bring new skills to public service, including design. What are the modern standards? How can we be more agile and nimble in the way that we work? And how can we be more informed by the people who actually use our products and services? By bringing these design values and skills to government, we can create more efficient and effective policies and services."
Originally published: http://consciousmagazine.co/innovating-gotham-ariel-kennan/ The FastCo interview showed Ariel also addresses the issues from the perspective of the citizen user of government services:
"Government is really good at organizing itself into specific issue areas, and thinking about which policies govern which pieces. But it’s not necessarily looking at the individual resident who has to touch five different agencies to have something change in their lives. My job is to ask the question, how do we bring better services across all of those points? We’ve been doing this in a few different ways. One has been using design as a service. We currently have a design team made up of public servants that are also full-time designers. They worked on the mayor’s new street homelessness initiative, HOME-STAT. But what we quickly realised was that stakeholders across the city didn’t understand the service from end-to-end, even if they understood their part of it. So we talked to everyone who touches the service including people who are actually on the street. We journey mapped the entire experience from end-to-end and brought different stakeholders together to co-create changes that they would like to see — from policy to communications to data to tech. We’re also working to build capacity and create tools not only for ourselves to do the design work but for others across the city to learn and have the tools to do it themselves. We’re developing a new design playbook for different services and departments within the city. We’re also creating a framework to be able to evaluate design interventions in the city and know if they’re effective. We want to know that we’re not just doing design for design’s sake."
Originally published: https://www.fastcodesign.com/3067006/designing-women/how-ariel-kennan-solves-nycs-most-intractable-design-problems Civic Design Camp In 2014, Ariel was one of the co-founders of the US East Coast branch of Civic Design Camp. There is a concise and well illustrated summary of the event, written by Carly Ayres for design site Core77 called "Civic Design Camp: Talks, Task Forces, Taboos and Tools for Large-Scale Impact":
"It's not often that an event brings government officials, public servants, visual and industrial designers together in the same room... but when it does, you can expect a truly forward-looking conversation. At least that's what organizers Dave Seliger and Ariel Kennan had in mind when they decided to bring Civic Design Camp to the East Coast: With the goal of creating "better citizen experiences" across the board, the 70 attendees spent last Saturday rethinking government programs and initiatives."
Read the full article at http://www.core77.com/posts/27886/Civic-Design-Camp-Talks-Task-Forces-Taboos-and-Tools-for-Large-Scale-Impact The video below shows Ariel's presentation to the annual Code For America conference in 2015. If you want to keep up with Ariel's work, you can find here on the here: angellist: https://angel.co/ariel-kennan facebook: https://www.facebook.com/arielkennan flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/arielmai/ foursquare: https://foursquare.com/user/59170799 github: https://github.com/arielkennan google+: https://plus.google.com/111347713481414198767 instagram: https://www.instagram.com/arielmainyc/ linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/arielkennan medium: https://medium.com/@arielmai twitter: https://twitter.com/arielmai website: http://www.arielkennan.com/ If you want see Ariel in person, come along to Transform 17 in Canberra at the end of March. See you there." ["post_title"]=> string(43) "Transform 17 Speaker Insights: Ariel Kennan" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(42) "transform-17-speaker-insights-ariel-kennan" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-02-23 12:49:54" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-02-23 01:49:54" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=6860" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } ["comment_count"]=> int(0) ["current_comment"]=> int(-1) ["found_posts"]=> string(3) "768" ["max_num_pages"]=> float(52) ["max_num_comment_pages"]=> int(0) ["is_single"]=> bool(false) ["is_preview"]=> bool(false) ["is_page"]=> bool(false) ["is_archive"]=> bool(true) ["is_date"]=> bool(false) ["is_year"]=> bool(false) ["is_month"]=> bool(false) ["is_day"]=> bool(false) ["is_time"]=> bool(false) ["is_author"]=> bool(false) ["is_category"]=> bool(true) ["is_tag"]=> bool(false) ["is_tax"]=> bool(false) ["is_search"]=> bool(false) ["is_feed"]=> bool(false) ["is_comment_feed"]=> bool(false) ["is_trackback"]=> bool(false) ["is_home"]=> bool(false) ["is_404"]=> bool(false) ["is_embed"]=> bool(false) ["is_paged"]=> bool(false) ["is_admin"]=> bool(false) ["is_attachment"]=> bool(false) ["is_singular"]=> bool(false) ["is_robots"]=> bool(false) ["is_posts_page"]=> bool(false) ["is_post_type_archive"]=> bool(false) ["query_vars_hash":"WP_Query":private]=> string(32) "cd15f7c06249973e2ffe0fd408452899" ["query_vars_changed":"WP_Query":private]=> bool(false) ["thumbnails_cached"]=> bool(false) ["stopwords":"WP_Query":private]=> NULL ["compat_fields":"WP_Query":private]=> array(2) { [0]=> string(15) "query_vars_hash" [1]=> string(18) "query_vars_changed" } ["compat_methods":"WP_Query":private]=> array(2) { [0]=> string(16) "init_query_flags" [1]=> string(15) "parse_tax_query" } }

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Transform 17 Speaker Insights: Ariel Kennan

Early Bird registration for our Transform conference has just been extended by a week to Friday 3 March. That’s all the excuse we need give you some insight into our next featured speaker, Ariel Kennan, whose talk is titled “Making Public Services Effective and Accessible“.

Ariel Kennan is … Read more »

Video Ristretto: Seb Chan, CXO, Australian Centre for the Moving Image

Seb ChanVideo Ristretto is back in its mid-week slot, highlighting some of the shorter and sharper talks from our various conferences in video format, typically about 20 minutes long.

This week, we bring you Seb Chan’s talk from Direction 16, “Making … Read more »

Transform 17 Speaker Insights: Ben Holliday

Transform is just a few weeks away (Early Bird registration closes this Friday), so we thought it useful to give you a bit of extra background on our speakers. We’ll start with Ben Holliday, whose talk is titled “Collective small actions. Service Design in Government“.

Ben is currently … Read more »

Respond 16: Speaker Training Workshop

Last week we opened a Call For Proposals to speak at Respond 16, and we mentioned that we provide practical support to our newer speakers. One form this takes is participation in a Speaker Training Workshop, organised by us and run by professional coaches. Last year, Ricky Onsman … Read more »

Transform 16: Beyond the UX Tipping Point, Jared Spool

Friday sees the end of the Early Bird discount for the first Web Directions conference of the year, Transform 2017 in Canberra on 29-30 March. Which is a great time to revisit the closing keynote address from last year’s Transform. Jared Spool certainly knows how to deliver a talk. … Read more »

Not My Digital Detox

It seems that the number one New Year’s resolution this year  (as covered in mainstream media, at least) was the “digital detox”.

Then there was the digital detox backlash (“say ‘digital detox’ one more time …”).

And in various podcasts I’ve listened to of late (more on podcasts shortly), really intelligent, successful … Read more »

We Wish We Could Read Your Mind

But we can’t.

And, on reflection, perhaps that’s not a bad thing.

Nevertheless, if we’re to continue to not just provide you with valuable events, news and conferences, but to keep doing it better every year, we need to know what best suits your needs and preferences.

And so, the survey.

This survey … Read more »

Call For Proposals to Speak at Respond 2017 Opens

Web Directions has opened a Call For Proposals from people interested in speaking at Respond 2017.

Respond is our Front End Design Conference, taking place in Sydney (4-5 May), Melbourne (8-9 May) and this year also in Brisbane (12 May).

We’re accepting proposals for 20 minute talks up til 1 March, so … Read more »

Five Reasons to Join Us at Transform 17

You might have already scanned what’s in store at Transform 17, but I just want to highlight five great reasons why you should join us this year.

 

 … Read more »

Release Your Inner Conference Speaker

You know it. You’ve felt it.

You go to conferences, workshops, meetups, events of all kinds where people get up and talk and give you insights into their work – and your own – that you’d never get from anywhere else.

And you can’t help thinking to yourself, “I could do that. … Read more »

Transform 16: Transforming Government Communication and Content, Dan Hon

As we approach the first Web Directions conference of the year, Transform 2017 in Canberra on 29-30 March, we’re going to remind you of the talks from the first Transform conference in 2016. These extracts are taken from Wrap, the free digital magazine we publish after every conference … Read more »

Weekend Reading Links

Things I’ve Been Reading
A fortnightly collection of links to online articles, news and resources of interest to people working on the web.
Automating Visual Testing
At Web Directions events we frequently cover testing and a key to this is, of course, automation (see also Atul Gawande‘s Checklist Manifesto, which we mentioned in a … Read more »

Transform 16: Redesigning the Citizen Experience, Dana Chisnell

As we approach the first Web Directions conference of the year, Transform 2017 in Canberra on 29-30 March, we’re going to remind you of the talks from the first Transform conference in 2016. These extracts are taken from Wrap magazine, the free digital magazine we publish after every … Read more »

Jobs to be done, and the Pebble Watch

Pebble Watches

The work of Geoffrey Moore and his chasm theory is less well known now than it was a decade ago, although terms he coined or popularised like ‘early adopter’ and ‘early majority’ continue to find widespread use. But, if anything, Moore’s work … Read more »

Transform 2017 – The Launch

Last year, Web Directions held our first full conference focused on improving how government provides information and services, Transform. This tapped into discussions across the globe around digital transformation: drawing on the opportunities provided by emerging technologies to change for the better the way governments communicate with their citizens…. Read more »