User Experience Working Group is changing the way we work

For over a year, intrapreneurs within the federal government have been working hard to increase the capacity of public servants to produce citizen-focused websites and applications.

The self-organized group of specialists has completed a number of projects as part of the Web Standards Update. Simona & I have the auspicious role of community coordinators. There are six project leaders working with a core team of about a dozen people. In total,  60 current and past members, and a dozen more non-members, from over 25 different departments, have contributed to these projects. Members are encouraged to work on multiple projects, as time allows, for cross-polination of ideas.

Every member must get their managers’ approval to spend at least two days a month in order to become a member. Some have approval to spend more than that. Most of us stick to what we’re good at. Some have ventured into new territory in an effort to learn from some of the best designers in government. (We’re always looking for more, hint, hint).

The mandate and terms of reference were presented and approved by the inter-departmental committee of senior managers to whom we report. Our projects seek to meet their stated priorities for GC websites – development of re-usable tools and templates, assure quality of our web presence, update the Web Standards and provide training and awareness on related topics.

What are we working on?

Training and awareness – Six custom courses were developed and delivered last year by Akendi, Aboutness Inc and NeoInsight to increase awareness and build capacity for employees to enhance their knowledge of User-Centred Design processes and principles.  Well over 1000 people attended the courses in person. 98% of survey respondents said they should be offered again. Talented video editors are currently editing recordings of the courses into DVDs to provide to all departments. The course materials, summaries of the courses, and a summary report of the evaluation, are available already on GCPEDIA.

Recommendations for the Standard on Web Usability – The team of brilliant interaction and visual designers have produced a set of recommendations for minimum mandatory requirements for websites and web applications. These were developed based on usability best practices and have already been through one round of usability testing which resulted in some refinements. They will continue to be refined and re-tested. The full approach will be presented to Treasury Board to inform the Standard on Web Usability. They will consult with departments and take the draft Standard through the regular policy approval process.

Guidelines for implementing the Standard –  over the course of the next year, we’ll be expanding our work to help departments implement the forthcoming Standard on Web Usability. There are already some great resources available on GCPEDIA, including a library of patterns that document common design approaches that respond to user behaviour.

How can you get involved?

These are internal links to GCPEDIA, sorry to the folks outside the firewall. If you have specific questions feel free to leave a comment or email me directly.

  • Add your department’s usability results so we can get a better starting point when designing.
  • Sign-up to receive updates by email (or watch the updates page)
  • Comment on UXWG projects and deliverables in the discussion pages.
  • Sign up for a project.
  • Add your Awareness and Training documents that relate to Web accessibility, CLF and website management.
  • Talk to the people you know on the working group about what’s going on and how you can help.
  • Discuss this with us on Twitter – use the tag: #uxgc
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About Laura

As a Business Analyst working for the Canadian federal government in Web usability, I have the opportunity to be a part of a growing movement of professionals implementing user-centered design principles.
This entry was posted in Conferences & Events, Government websites, Improving the Public Service, Usability & User-Centred Design and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to User Experience Working Group is changing the way we work

  1. Pingback: Public Service as a Complex Adaptive System « Public Service of the Future

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