Maps: not just for Summer

We are proud to present our new map for… Autumn! Now the nights are getting spookier and the leaves are turning brown, the Love Summer map was starting to look a little optimistic. The new map covers Halloween, Bonfire Night, half-term activities and bracing walks around the borough. Blow those cobwebs off and take a peek.

This is the culmination of just two weeks’ work from Liz Harrison’s GIS team of Sandrine Balley and Marta Villalobos, with front-end development help from Emma Lewis. And not forgetting Wing’s determination to seek user feedback from unsuspecting visitors to London Fields playground.

We’re continuing to refine the design and functionality of these maps and now have a template that we can increasingly turn to any use. Watch out for more Love maps soon.

Screenshot of Love Autumn map
Screenshot of Love Autumn map

Re-engineering Hackney content: showcase 9/10/19

We had our end of term show yesterday and ran the audience through a whistlestop tour of all the highs, lows and afterglows of this project.

We started on this work in February and the team has worked hard to a) design a new site b) move to a new platform and c) deliver a few side-hustles along the way. If you’ve not followed us from week to week, binge the box set instead.

“What’s the next episode?” “The one with the hackathon.”

Team-building in our glorious parks

Last Thursday, you may have noticed a dearth of relationship managers and delivery managers on the 4th floor. It was probably quieter. There was probably more room in the fridge. It was because we were on staycation!

Our day’s volunteering in London Fields with Parks staff saw us renovating benches, attacking weeds, creating loggeries, planting trees… pressing the button on the tail lift. All whilst learning more about each other and bonding over a shared hatred of thistles.

The day was such a success that Parks is now thinking about starting an in-house programme of team-building. Who knows, instead of Let’s Network [in a coffee shop] Let’s Network Parks could be coming to a green space near you.

Re-engineering Hackney content: weeknotes 7/10/19

It was touch and go at the start of last week but www.hackney.gov.uk is now definitely live. The homepage is out there singing its best song for Hackney with resident-centred editorial, top tasks and an array of useful signposting content. We’ve been responding to feedback hot off Hotjar and tweaking the top tasks to suit visitors. We hope to establish a mechanism whereby customer services can feed into this list on a daily basis, making sure it’s relevant to current queries. 

screenshot of homepage of hackney council
Screenshot of new Hackney homepage

We know we have work to do. Specifically, search is not quick enough and is not as logical as we want. And we need to anchor the navigation so that visitors know where they are in the site when they click on the menu. 

Developer Emma Lewis will be trialling Mohamed Mulla’s documentation on GitHub this week to make sure future developers can hit the site running. And we’re welcoming a couple of apprentices to help us clear out some of the design annoyances: any heading, icon or component that’s one pixel out, we’re coming for you.

We held a retro on Friday to work out why the DNS switch to live was so problematical when it’s normally a straightforward, five minute exercise. In our case, the site was sometimes sending you to the new site, sometimes the old. As if the machines had taken over and were forcing their own A/B test. Or, rather, Virgin Media had taken over.

After some exhaustive work with Virgin from Lindsay Rex, Mal Morris, Idowu Kusoro and Isaiah Oketola in Infrastucture, we were back on track by Wednesday. However, the retro gave us some lessons learnt to take forward that we’ll be applying to the Intranet launch this week. It was a really useful, instructive hour, due in no small part to Cate McLaurin’s sterling job as facilitator. 

One other surprise was the number of third party sites that had been hosting their CSS files on Goss, the old platform. This resulted in services including One Account, Planning Portal, Licensing and anything on the mginternet domain losing their styles. We were able to identify them quickly and host on the new servers but, medium term, these files need to be located with the rest of their code. We’re tracking down the owners now. 

Re-engineering Hackney Content Show and Tell 24/09/19

Thanks to all who came to yesterday’s show and tell; and thanks to all who will enjoy these slides if they could not attend. We’re covering user research, search and a new template for commercial properties.

We will do a Final Whistle show and tell in a couple of weeks to highlight what’s been achieved and learned during the lifecycle of the delivery.