Interesting elsewhere – 17 February 2012

Things which caught my eye elsewhere on the web

  • Smart answers are smart | Government Digital Service The partnership of content designer and developer on smart answers demonstrates the oft-fabled multidisciplinary agile approach we employ at GDS, where we work in pairs wherever possible. Researching the subject, working out the logic and moulding this with technical wizardry (at the same time writing great microcopy as we went along) meant the smart answer was devised and built in hours.
  • Enabling tomorrow’s public services – Reform Technological innovation must be combined with business process redesign and improvement. In addition, services should embrace the future, in terms of both the capabilities of those delivering the service and the demands of those using them.
  • 5 things to leave out of a social media proposal « A Pretty Simple blog A great argument for engaging with social media is to be part of the conversations that are already happening. But be wary of thinking that means you can take control of the conversation, or even have any impact on it at all.
  • The Symbiotic Web blog: Crazy Europeans!?! This is an industry that has developed the surreptitious gathering of people’s personal data into an art form, yet an industry that can’t keep its data safe from hackers and won’t keep it safe from government agencies. This is an industry that tracks our every move on the web and gets stroppy if we want to know when it’s happening and why. This is an industry that makes privacy policies ridiculously hard to read whilst at the same time working brilliantly on making other aspects of their services more and more user-friendly.
  • 7 Foundational Principles « Privacy by Design Privacy by Design advances the view that the future of privacy cannot be assured solely by compliance with regulatory frameworks; rather, privacy assurance must ideally become an organization’s default mode of operation.
  • The human factor in service design – McKinsey Quarterly – Operations – Performance It’s no secret that the quality of a company’s service interactions matters greatly in creating a positive experience with customers. Yet few companies focus on how customers form opinions about those interactions. By applying well known principles of psychology and behavioral science to service designs and working harder to understand what really motivates—and irritates—customers, companies can begin improving the experience quickly and at low cost [requires free registration]
  • Behavioural Insights Team publish paper on fraud, error and debt | Cabinet Office This is the first time that the Government has explicitly sought to draw upon behavioural insights to tackle fraud, error and debt in a systematic way. The insights outlined in this document, applied in a range of different contexts and settings, show that not only is it possible to apply behavioural insights to reduce fraud, error and debt, but also that it can be done in a highly cost-effective way.
  • Briefly, on Agile | Seldo.Com Blog Great teams produce great software. Great teams using agile release software every two weeks. Bad teams will produce shitty software. Bad teams using agile will release shitty software every two weeks.
  • Rosenfeld Media | Luke Wroblewski on the Most Common Web Form MistakeFor example, if you are offering home loans, a useful conversation might go something like this:”How can I help you?” “I’m trying to see if I can afford a home.” “I can help you with that, is this your first home purchase…”

    Whereas, a typical Web form conversation goes more like this:

    “First Name” “Umm ok I guess” “Last Name” “Phone number” “Wait why do you need my phone number?” “Agree to my terms of service!”

    Clearly there’s a big difference between these two approaches.

  • Nick Bradbury: No More Free Tech SupportA big reason software is still so unfriendly is that most developers spend very little time understanding how non-geeks experience the tech we build. We surround ourselves with fellow techies and start thinking everyone uses software the same way we do, so we keep building stuff for ourselves.The only way we’re going to stop spending so much time giving free tech support is by making stuff that’s easier to use and less breakable. It’s when we step into the world of non-geeks, where people type URLs into Google’s search box instead of the address bar, that we start to understand what we’re doing wrong.

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