Sprint notes – CMD Beta – Sprint 7


Hi – As a reminder. I am Andy and I run the ONS website. I seem to have taken to drinking strong coffee, listening to some loud music and writing sprint notes on a Friday.

Here is an update on the progress on the current Customise My Data Beta project. This is a project to allow our users to find data more easily, break down data into small chunks and to add geography as an additional view on our data.

As ever – everything we do is available to have a look at on our prototype pages.

So then. Sprint 7. Time to mix things up.  As we saw in Sprint 6 we have decided to call a Design Sprint. This is to give our UX team the time and space to think about the challenges found in displaying the complexity hidden in the geography of the UK. Benjy will be covering the process involved in a design sprint via another blog post, but it was really interesting to see how much can be done by giving a small group of people the permission to remove themselves from day-to-day work (physically and mentally) and let them focus on solving one big problem.

The design sprint produced this mock-up (based around a scenario where someone is interested in Southampton) and it performed really well in our initial user testing. We will be taking it out on the road (actually, to Southampton) next week and I am excited to hear more about how this goes.

In terms of development work, it has been a bit of a whirlwind. The team is backup to full speed after a few of the them went to Full Stack in Barcelona in the previous sprint (note – ONS is an awesome place to work and we really look after developers) and we are sadly saying goodbye to Kieran, our amazing placement student who has made an event reporter system to catch some server errors. I am so pleased that he has been able to deliver a Real Thing within his limited time with us. One to watch I reckon.

The team has been working to integrate some of the APIs that have been produced by one Agile team with the front end components that has been produced by another. As you might be able to guess, we have learnt something in this integration (they didn’t line up perfectly) but that is why we are so keen to do this kind of work early.

In addition, we have been building more APIs (Something to describe the code lists inherent in statistics being the next big one to deal with) and continuing to build and enhance the user facing pages in the system (some of this being for internal users, some for external).

We have also been spending time thinking about CSV files (which some people in the team seem to find dull, but I find really interesting). This is in terms of how to create them on the fly for new small sections of data created by users (for example – I want all the crime data for this geographic area for this time period) and also how to make them “human readable”. We have some work in progress thinking here and are able to use some very nice open tools such as the Apache POI

The next sprint is focused on building out the remaining APIs, doing user research on Geography in Southampton and building the screens required for to upload data into our internal CMS ahead of publishing

We are always looking for more people to undertake user research with, so if you are interested in joining in, please do get in contact.

An update on this and more will be here in a couple of weeks.