Chris Witham

Weeknotes s01e16

Posted by: Chris Witham - Posted on:

TL:DR; Accessibile mermaids, bight riding and fabulous conversations.

[week ending: 23/04/2021]

The good

This week has felt like a fabulous week. I think the weather is helping a lot, so sunny! Having had some bad news about our builder not being available and then finding another builder, our dining room project is back on track (I hope) and we’re making progress with plumbing and sorting and packing boxes. Some garden visiting, BBQing and watching the Grand Prix outside all added to the quality week.

We got out for our first night ride in years this week and it was great. We rode out into the middle of the forest to find a dark spot for meteor watching but the moon was far too bright. We still got to see about 50 dear, 20 boar and some other wildlife which was very special so close to home.

There’s been some good opportunities to connect accross our Leadership Division and the wider People Directorate this week. Lots of colleagues have been talking about how we make our products more accessibile which is great. I’ve been signingposting a lot to Neil William’s 3 year old blgo about why we should publish in HTML and not PDF. Work plans for the year ahead of developing at pace and digital seems to be a huge part of everyone’s plans. It’s going to be an interesting year and there’s loads of opportunity.

I’ve been pondering a lot how Markdown might solve a lot of common problems and possibly make things more accessibile. I made good progress on some architectural flow diagrams this week but I was challenge by Ian when I shared it as a PDF. Jason then pointed out that Mermaid would allow me to write flow diagrams as Markdown which could then be read or listened to rather than just looked at. Something I definitely want to explore more next week. Please leave me a comment if you’ve found accessibile solutions to flow diagrams or made use of Markdown in your organisation.

May Hill in the sun taken from Collafield with bright blue skies and a few trees in the foreground.
May Hill in the sun taken from Collafield. 75 miles cycling this week and 10 miles walking. You can tell the road bike made an appearance!

The bad

As life returns to normal starts to exist outside of the walls of my house again, I’m starting to feel a bit less organised. I need to start using my personal diary a bit more as the relaxed attitude of always being in and available is starting to be insufficient. I’m still not feeling 100% comfortable with leaving the house and going places but making sure I know what’s going on and where I need to be is definitely something that needs a bit more priority going forwards.

I think the really important thing at the moment is to ackowledge that we’re all different and have different experiences. Some will be keen to get back to the office, some will have never worked from home and others (like me) could quite happily go on working remotely most of the time. Creating flexibile arrangements and appreciating our uniqueness will help everyone to flourish.

The ugly

Time seems to be moving more quickly again and the weeks are flying by. I think bullet journalling earlier in the year helped combat this and ensured my time was more planned and focussed. I want to get back into journalling and creating more sense of achievement against intentions.

Noteable conversations

  • I really enjoyed a conversation this week about the NHS Leadership Academy brand and how we want to explain our offer and include people in our journey. It was really great to hear Information Architecture, User Experience and User Centred Design at the front of the discussions. I think openness, portability and reusability will see us make much better use of our content in different ways over the coming years.
  • The week ended with an energising conversation with colleagues and a member of faculty about some research we’re doing into e-development design. We’ve got a wealth of experience from the last 7 years and it was great to be able to contribute and develop ideas. Users, context, benefits management and data were all in the mix and I’m really excited about where the research will go.
  • Alison Warren at NHS Digital started a conversation on Twitter about GP Surgery websites and the NHS Design System. It was great to contribute around some of the work we’ve done on an Open Source WordPress theme for the NHS and how it is being used my practices to improve their web presence. Do have a look and join in.

Things I’m reading and watching

I’ve got a bunch of articles lined up to read over the weekend but nothing too noteful for now. We’re glad that Sewing Bee is back on and aparently the last season of Superstore is now available on the ITV hub!

I’ve also been trying to get a few more tips to improve my off road biking and enjoying the Global Mountain Bike Network on YouTube having watched a lot of GCN last year.

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