Learn by making.

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Week ten

16 December 2022

This week we ran our final two Learn by making sessions of this series. The goals for these sessions were to test the permissions prototype* with real users; to reflect on the experience and what we’ve all learnt; and to tell our story to folk within Natural Resource Wales and the Centre for Digital Public Services. We were also extremely lucky to have Giles Turnbull talk with us about the value of working in the opening.

*note: the prototype may take a few minutes to wake up if it’s not been used for a while!

Agile comms

We started session 7 with our 4th guest speaker – an inspirational talk from Giles Turnbull. Giles shared with us his experiences of working with many different organisations, helping them communicate clearly and effectively in the open. Giles shared some tips for getting started, and how to keep writing and sharing.

It’s fair to say that we were all energised and left eager to share more about what we’re doing. It also set us up really nicely for thinking about how we’d tell our “labs story” the following day.

A photo of Giles Turnbull talking to the team about working in the open

Hearing from users

When we started to think about what Learn by Making might become Jamie asked on Twitter what people’s “aha moments” were when it came to experiencing user centred design. So many people responded with comments about the value of seeing users use the thing they’d designed or built. It was clear that it would be incredibly important to include this experience as a part of Learn by making.

Last week we built a prototype of a potential permissions service. It aimed to provide an alternative way for users to find out whether they needed permission to use NRW land, it also explored an alternative approach for renewing an existing permission.

Permissions triage page Check if you're allowed to use our land page Will you be charging or taking an income page Permission certificate page
Screenshots from the NRW permissions prototype

Although we only had a couple of days to build the prototype we felt that there was enough there to start getting feedback from real users.

At fairly short notice we were fortunate to be able to find three real users who were able to spare the time to speak with us. The interviews were led by Gabi and the rest of the group had the opportunity to observe and take notes.

If it wasn’t for time constraints then we would’ve loved to have heard from more users, however in the three 30 minute interviews we learnt loads.

Hearing first-hand people’s experiences of the existing service was eye opening and generated so many ideas about where there are opportunities to improve. Likewise, seeing users use our prototype and hear their thoughts really helped validate that we were on the right track whilst also giving us plenty to think about in terms of backlog items to iterate on and improve what we’d started.

Hopefully this reassures NRW that this is a problem that needs solving, and where the team have started is something worth pursuing.

A photo of a whiteboard showing the summary of the user research note taking session

Reflecting and storytelling

We started the 8th and final Learn by making session with a team retrospective. Of course it was lovely to hear about the things that people enjoyed and thought went well, but it was really helpful to hear about where we could do things differently in the future. Having an open conversation in a safe environment allowed for some really constructive discussion.

A photo of some of the post-it notes from the team’s retrospective

To wrap up the final session we held a show and tell (well, actually two show and tells due to diary clashes) with folk from NRW and CDPS. The team talked about what they had achieved over the course of the eight sessions, demoed the prototype and gave a summary of the key findings from user research. We also made a case for why we believed the work around permissions should be taken further outside of the Learn by making setting. There was positive feedback from both show and tells, and has set-up some follow-on conversations for next week.

A photo of the team presenting their labs story to the NRW team

Next week

Although all the actual Learn by making sessions have been completed there is still plenty of work to do! Next week will be about further reflection. We’ll be thinking about the things that worked and the things that we might approach differently next time around.

We’ll also be making sure that the website is updated with the resources we’ve created, the things on the internet that we’ve referred to, and the page per session provide an outline for what we did.

Get involved

All our code is available on GitHub.

If you’d like to get in touch or you’d like to get updates by email, drop us a message at hello@learnbymaking.wales