After working in publishing for a few years, I joined the Civil Service. I managed a web editorial team at the National Archives, where we had started to adopt a user-centred and agile way of working. I wanted to put into practice what I’d learned and work for a central government department. I was also keen to work on services that can make a real difference to people’s lives. I’ve now been at the Home Office working in content design for over five years (with a year out in the middle to have a baby).
In my current role every day is different but there is a routine to the week, as it’s structured around agile meetings. My team and I start every day with stand ups, so we know what each other is focussing on and can work together to solve problems where needed. I use feedback from user research to make changes to web services (such as applying for a visa). I help to ensure that the online process is smooth and easy to understand. I also work with colleagues including business analysts, developers, policy experts and frontline staff to ensure we are thinking about the whole service when we design for our users.
What I like most about the job is the variety. Designers tend to move around different project teams to get a broad range of experience. You could be working on anything from the department’s intranet to a large-scale public-facing service. You can join a project at any stage and the tasks and challenges will vary. We have a very supportive UCD community that is there to share knowledge and help solve common problems.
I also really appreciate the flexibility. I am in control of my own time and trusted to work in a way and at times that suit me. Each team is different, and you are given the autonomy to figure out the best ways of working among yourselves.
If you were thinking about a career in the Home Office, I would recommend speaking to people already working here to find out what it’s like on the ground. There are plenty of opportunities and also excellent career progression. You won’t get bored working here; you are encouraged to pursue your different areas of interest.