Right, let’s get straight to it. With a contract signed on Wednesday, tomorrow I head into the thick of it by joining the digital team at the Department of Education. Alongside user researchers and content designers, I’ll be designing a service to help graduates find and apply for postgraduate teacher training courses.
This will also be my first foray working within the public sector. At the start of the year when I announced that I was “seeking a hybrid design/front-end role with an organisation instigating meaningful change” a number of people suggested I look for roles in government, and my sense is they were right. I have concerns of course — this environment is very different to that of any commercial organisation I’ve worked in — but I’m excited (and somewhat curious) about designing with a different set of constraints. Having spent much of the week wrestling with the DBS service, this was a reminder that many poorly designed government services remain. While it’s easy to focus on the primary gov.uk website, there’s plenty of work still to be done improving the digital capabilities of government.
The nature of this project means I continue as an independent contractor, for which I’m entering my fifth year. Seeing as I was somewhat reluctant to abandon the flexibility this provides, hopefully I’ve reached a satisfying conclusion to my long, and at times painful, search for rewarding work.
Between scanning and signing various documents and contracts, work continued on IndieKit. Frankly, the new job can’t come soon enough, as given another week on this project, I may have torn it to pieces in an attempt to make it better, only to break everything. This week I added media endpoint support, styled home and error pages and added documentation about the terms used throughout the app. More importantly, I wrote more unit tests, with coverage now hovering around the 67% mark. And boy, did I need to write tests! I can’t tell you how many bugs were unearthed.
It also became clear just how much work is required to support uploading media files to GitHub repositories that have LFS enabled (such as the one for this site). This will likely involve using a different set of APIs, for which documentation and examples are thin. As an alternative, I’m considering adding support for Cloudinary, which at the very least will help me work out how different storage services should be supported by IndieKit.