Coda: summary of suggestions

Coda: summary of suggestions

In my series on Service Design and Language, I’ve tried to offer a few practical suggestions for how we might improve the delivery of services in the languages of Welsh and English. Some of these suggestions are, of course, easier than others. A rough summary would look a bit like this: Stuff that will cost a reasonable but not ridiculous amount of money Where the …

10. Ymlaen!

In this series of posts, I’ve tried to outline some of the ways that I think we could improve the provision of public sector digital services in the languages of Welsh and English in Wales. I’m hesitant to go any further than I have done in these posts and aspire to write guidance for a few reasons.  The first reason is that good guidance, like …

9. Follow the money

I’ve always said that if you want to understand priorities about digital in the public sector, it’s simple: follow the money. Where there are many claims and plans and conferences and blog posts and strategies and good things said, the measure of commitment is money. Follow this through, and how you purchase – or procure – digital work shapes how that digital work is delivered.  …

8. Software is eating the (English speaking) World

[Part 8 of my series on language and service design] In 2011 I created a bilingual interactive government website. It used WordPress, although it was a custom approach to WordPress designed to make it scalable for national use and get around some of the performance scale issues that WordPress had at the time.  When we created a bilingual approach using WordPress, I checked to see if …

7. Working together

[Part 7 of my series on language and service design] I’ve been involved in some way with Welsh language services produced by central Westminster government departments, British government agencies based in Wales, the devolved Welsh Government, local government in Wales, the voluntary sector in Wales, and arms-length bodies based entirely in England. There are other organisations involved in producing services in the languages of Welsh and …

6. User research is not language agnostic

[Part 6 of my series on language and service design] I had done some guerrilla testing before I joined government but the first time I set up a formal programme of user testing on a new website it ended up being late on in the process on the first government project I’d been involved in. At the time I naively thought that any user testing …

5. Content design is more important with multilingual content

[Part 5 of my series on language and service design] How do you translate something exactly? As someone on Twitter said recently, translated works are basically rewritten. My favourite example of this, and also my favourite Wikipedia page, is how you might translate an expression indicating heavy rain. In Welsh, we say that “it’s raining old ladies and sticks” – mae hi’n bwrw hen wragedd …

4. Diversity is an asset, not an edge case

[Part 4 of my series on language and service design] When I was working for GDS a few years ago, I was lucky enough to attend the session where Guilia Bazoli presented her research on Welsh language in Government. The session also included Bernard Tyers presenting on the work he’d done as a User Researcher on the Electronic Visa Waiver service. Bernard spent some of …

3. Qualitative, not quantitative, metrics

[Part 3 of my series on language and service design] Even recently, it’s noticeable how many of the conversations about services being provided in multiple languages that I’ve been involved in default to quantitative metrics: of the number of people who used this service, x percentage opted to use it in the language of y. Anyone who has managed metrics or analytics data on digital …

2. Graceful degradation

[Part 2 of my series on language and service design] I need to say up front that this post is not an apologetic for half-hearted, non-committal, or box ticking language adherence. But almost all sites with multilingual content that is not static (i.e. created once and never changed until the site dies) have unequal amounts of content in the different languages involved. If, as I …