First up, I missed a sprint. It was Christmas. I was eating chocolates and feeling ill. Sorry. To try and make it up to you, we only gone and went into public Beta.
Take a look at the launch post , have a play with the functionality and let us know what you think. We are trying out some new ways of collecting feedback on the Beta as well, so it really is all new, new. new.
Now, assuming you followed the link and have come back, let’s continue the story
The sprint notes have been kept up to date on the github page and they show how getting into a public beta is a pretty low tempo move for us and that a huge amount of other work is carrying on. This has focused on making the process for ingesting data into the new system easier (it has had a few pretty nasty flaws until now) and working on sculpting more of our data into the format required for the project. This continues to be a huge amount of work for the team. At the moment, we are looking at some Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings and Crime data for making available in the near-ish future to you all.
The journey through the dataset breakdown has changed slightly with a bolder design being used on the “landing” page to try help make it clearer which step of the process a user is in. It has been interesting to look at the analytics  on the site to get a clear view of how users are moving around. It is the closest we have ever some to a transactional journey, so things like the Google Analytics conversion funnel have been increasingly utilised by the team. We have had around 500 people use the Beta so far, so pictures are developing to help guide us on how it is being used and where we need to focus next.
Across our other projects, we have been concentrating on improving the publishing of our Visual style articles within the main ONS site and adapting our design patterns to accommodate them.
In the next sprint, the team are starting to grapple with some of the feedback on the Beta, building the next bits of an in-journey search and making the very first steps into building a router to allow the APIs we use to power the project to be made consistently available to external users (something this correspondent is very excited about).
Across the team you might have missed some of these in the Christmas rush, namely: “Young people spent more than a third of their overall leisure time on devices and this lovely article on the value of the UK film industry
We have also been spending a lot of time sifting through the amazing applicants we had for our recent design and frontend developer roles. We had several hundred applicants for these, which is really pleasing for us all to see. Please do get in touch if you have any questions about what it is like to work in the Stats Palace.
In out and about news. I went to GovCamp in London and had a lovely time (even if I was feeling a little under the weather and not being very articulate). Benjy, Matt, Sarah, and I went to #oneteamgovwales in Cardiff as well. This was a wonderful event and I hope to see more of this type of thing happening in Wales. Well done to all who organised it (and especially to Eleanor and Nathan who fitted it in alongside helping to make the ONS site better).
 We are using a combination of Google Analytics, Loop11 and Crazy Egg for the beta at the moment, but continue to try different options alongside the regular face-to-face user research