Using Design Bets to plan change in MyEd

Last year, I was lucky enough to attend the Design It; Build It conference, where I saw Tobias Ahlin give a talk on an idea he called “Design Bets”. (He will also be coming back to the University of Edinburgh to give the same talk in a couple of weeks – check out the info at the end of the post to book.)

Put simply, Design Bets is a framework which allows you to plan changes, and then evaluate the impact of those changes using evidence, not personal belief or bias. It is designed for software products, but could easily be used for any type of change management – e.g. for a business or other organisation. It’s also a great tool which allows you to quickly plan and see possible changes across many areas at once.

I was immediately interested in this concept, because we are currently running a project to improve student experience in MyEd. There are a lot of ways that we could do this, and lots of ideas were being tossed around. It was difficult for the team to keep track of what ideas had been discussed, and to easily understand what those ideas were.

Continue reading “Using Design Bets to plan change in MyEd”

Chad Gowler: Asking About Gender

The University’s Front-End Development Community and Playfair Steps recently hosted Chad Gowler (http://www.kitation.co.uk/) to give a talk on “Asking About Gender”. This thought-provoking talk promotes awareness of some of the challenges faced by non-binary and gender-variant users, and discusses how we can support their needs in web development.

Slides and an alternate recording can be found here (note that this recording is for an older version and doesn’t cover all of the material in the slides):

This is the second time that I have been fortunate enough to see Chad give this talk. One of the things I really enjoy is that it demonstrates how we need to continually ask ourselves why we are asking these types of questions in the first place. This gets straight to the heart of user-centred design.

For our last talk from Harry Roberts, I wrote up some information about who was in the audience, so I thought it would be interesting to do a comparison. Again, the numbers are taken from our Event Booking system, so only shows who signed up for the event. This won’t be exact, as some people may have booked but not attended (or the other way around). Continue reading “Chad Gowler: Asking About Gender”