The Five Stages of Applying the Digital Service Standard to Technical Stuff

26 Apr 2017

1. Denial

You “I’m working on a platform/API/component/infrastructure product/etc . . . it’s a technical ‘thing’’ for internal use, the Digital Service Standard doesn’t apply.”

Inner You “Yes it does. You know it does. Look deep within yourself young padawan.”

2. Anger

You “It’s not public facing! It doesn’t even have users! It’s an internal, technical thing!”

Inner YouCivil servants are users too. User-centred design ftw. “

3. Bargaining

You “OK, I get that it’s got users . . . but loads of the standards don’t apply. How do I do something like ‘be consistent with the rest of GOV.UK including design patterns and style guide’ when building something like an API? That’s not applicable. Be reasonable!”

Inner You “Developers are users. They need technical documentation to use the API. Technical documentation = content. The page that the content sits on needs to be designed. The value of your API is only released if the technical documentation works. Your API needs a service wrapper. You’ve created a service. The digital service standard applies.”

4. Depression

You “But that means that I need a multidisciplinary team. I’ll never get a User Researcher for this work. Or a Content Designer.”

Inner You “You also need that team to exist for as long as your technical product exits. If it becomes a critical dependency for multiple other products then a service desk, incident response and iteration are crucial . . . “

You :(

Inner You “. . . but teams around government are making this case successfully! Platforms, components and technical products are increasingly going the the same phases of development as public-facing services. Here’s the Alpha assessment for PaaS from almost a year ago.”

5. Acceptance

You “So . . . I can get a multidisciplinary team to work on my technical thing, that is really a service for internal users? That’s exciting.”

Inner You “Yes. You’ll need to help your colleagues understand that you’re working on a service, the same as them, but once they do then you’ll get the help you need.”

You :)