Joining GDS

Sunday, March 2, 2014

As of mid-January I’ve been working for the Government Digital Service as an interaction designer. I’ve watched GDS’ progress with amazement since the launch of AlphaGov. I actually worked a little with GDS before in early 2012, when I was working on a certain government project with a certain large consulting company. Even back then it was a massive relief and breath of fresh air to shrug off limitations and start challenging the way government was doing things digitally.

So I’m extremely excited to finally be a part of GDS. It’s going great so far: it’s especially good to be doing things in a different way (no Axure, for starters) – I’m prototyping in the browser, which has pros and cons (in a nutshell, writing html and css takes longer than drawing a box and adding some interactions in Axure. But designing in Axure brings along a whole set of other problems. You start thinking in terms of how Axure works, rather than how the browser works. And you lose control over things like typography and transitions, and the end result is uglier, truly just uglier. Axure is a wonderful tool for some things, though, and I can’t argue that it’s extremely good when you want to make quick prototypes. More thoughts on this later.) I’m also typing things into Terminal (getting to grips with Git, hosting the prototype on Heroku) - all new things to me, and a different challenge, but one I’m enjoying a lot.