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ukgovweb barcamp

After an absolutely appalling visit to my local libraries (yes plural) where I was actually unable to find a book (not for lack of the book, but rather because their search system was dreadful), and an attempt to find some planning documents on a different council’s website I experienced  first hand that inability of the Government to complete even local tech projects, let alone national scale ones.

Both websites (Brent Library and Haringey Town Planning) are almost impossible to successfully use, display information you don’t want/ need and confuse even experienced users to no end. They are certainly not examples of perfection in Interaction Design.

Then, I stumbled upon the UKGovWeb BarCamp, and had a look through the list of suggested talking points, lots and lots on Web 2.0 (eughh),  Strategy (eughh) and Social Networking (this seems interesting atleast),  but what shocked me was that not a single person had indicated they wanted to talk about the Interaction Design of Government websites, or even the Usability. So I resolved to do a talk on this (as an outside observer) and proclaim the IxD banner out loud.

Great, so I signed up to the growing list (80 odd people already) and started nosing around the associated documentation, when it hit me. BUREAUCRACY. It was everywhere, three way collaboration on sessions, peer review, schedule shaping. They wanted people to sign up into sessions (having collaborated with others to share the 1 hour slots) weeks in advance, so that attendees could “review” the sessions in case they wanted something different!

Im really happy that UKGov Web Types want to hold a barcamp to do the stuff we do at barcamps, but don’t have a conference and call it a barcamp for the sakes of pretending you are doing something different, make sure almost everyone speaks, in their own session, about a subject area they are passionate about (even if it is one of those areas that bores me, there will be others who are interested)

Anyway, I will be going, I will be presenting on “IxD, Usability and Government Websites” or something aproaching that, and I certinaly wont be publishing my slides for peer review before hand, that takes then fun out of it.

Hope to see some of you there.

2 Responses

  1. Hi Emma, glad you are coming. Just to clarify, my suggestions about trying to create some of the event before the day is in response to conversations I have had with members of the government web community, who I think are crucial to the success of the day. None of them (including me) have participated in a barcamp before and consequently they don’t really know what they are letting themselves in for, consequently take up is not as high yet as I am hoping for. I don’t want it to seem bureaucratic but I did think it would helpful to those wavering if they could get a better flavour about the contents of the day. As the barcamp is only for one day it struck me it would be helpful for people to collaborate on sessions where there is commonality, but not for the sake of it.

    Anyway, hope that sets things a little straighter and look forward to meeting you.

  2. Emma, are you still coming tomorrow? Haven’t had confirmation and we need to send you a ticket to get through the door. Let me know (details on the wiki) asap. Hope to see you there.

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