Speak Up!

###Unfortunately circumstances have changed and I have had to withdraw from this speaking opportunity – however I have replaced it with a couple of others.###


Since my little 30/30 blog experiment I have been thinking about what geeky challenge to set myself next. What I have landed on is to **try** and do more ‘official’ public speaking.

I’m not really a confident public speaker but I have got over my paralysing fear of it and I do enjoy writing and planning talks – I also enjoy inflicting my Bristolian accent on unsuspecting audiences 🙂

The thing is I don’t really have much idea how you go about making it happen – most of the events I’ve spoken at I knew the organisers so it was pretty straightforward! So any advice gratefully received.

All that said I am pleased to say though this little experiment has got off to a decent start. I have been accepted as a speaker at the J.Boye conference in Aarhus  (thats Denmark!) giving a talk about our plans to improve search at the ONS (and why it is so hard to fix). Not a bad way to kick things off I guess and nice not to be talking about CMSs for a change.

My abstract is below if anyone is making the trip – to be honest I think the title is what swung it for me so something good came out of that FT article.

Like Google on an acid trip..

..that was how respected Economist and author Tim Harford recently described the site search on the United Kingdoms Office of National Statistics website (ONS) in the Financial Times. At that point he was pulling his punches though. Later in the same article he referred to the website as a ‘national disgrace’.

He is not alone with these opinions. Since the ONS website was relaunched two years ago there has been a torrent of complaints covering most aspects of the site but search issues stand head and shoulders above all the others.

This talk will outline just how we managed to get into such a situation and then outline some of the, many, steps we are in the process of taking to remedy the situation.

I will talk about the challenges of implementing search in an organisation with devolved publishing, making UX improvements where there has been no history of a user focus and trying to implement technical improvements when the Digital division does not make the technical decisions.

3 responses to “Speak Up!”

  1. Set myself a very similar challenge. Recently had a scan through various conferences to see which will be useful for our team. My next step is to have a look to see where there might be speaking/workshop/facilitation opportunities. Collated everything in a Google Spreadsheet (http://bit.ly/157fXp8) in a format that will lend itself to reporting back to Jisc having recently carried out a comms audit. Like you this is kinda new to me but I’ll try to keep you updated on my progress.

  2. That spreadsheet is nice work mate – good luck with it! It also demonstrates I think why I’m finding it a bit hard – there simply doesn’t seem to be the same ‘ecosystem’ of events/conferences in gov as HE. Or if there is I can’t tune in to it.

%d bloggers like this: