Resetting our digital principles

Posted in: Digital strategy, Digital transformation

Lots of organisations, including government, health care and commercial business, use digital principles to help guide development.

Our digital principles not only describe how we work with each other but also how we work with colleagues from across the University.

Over the past three years, we have used a set of principles as a true north, helping us to focus on what’s important.

As the pace of digital transformation continues to accelerate driven by new technologies and devices, adopting a standard approach is becoming increasingly important for digital communities of practice.

This is particularly important in organisations where content creation and development are devolved. Shared standards help teams to collaborate and create joined up experiences for users.

Over the last few months, we've been through a period of change. As a result, we decided it was a good time to review our principles.

Today, we are releasing a new set of principles based on our original ones - some are more familiar than others.

1. Start with people’s needs

Build successful products and services that meet user needs, so that people have a reason to use them.

  • find out what users need to do
  • think about the whole experience
  • learn about the market and technology
  • understand the business goals

2. Use data to make decisions

Make better design and technical choices about how we build products and services by using data.

  • listen to people’s feedback
  • learn from what people do, not what they say they do
  • monitor changes in technology that affect how people use our products and services
  • measure the effectiveness of what we build

3. Advocate standards and structure

Use shared standards and structure to make it easier to collaborate and build products and services that work well with other platforms.

  • agree standard ways of working with colleagues
  • adopt industry standards
  • use structured content so the information can be reused
  • advocate the use of shared standards and structure across the organisation

4. Make things simple and intuitive

Make products and services simple and intuitive so people can use them successfully.

  • follow a consistent visual design
  • choose the right tone, voice and style
  • establish common interactions and workflows
  • use the most effective channel
  • give information at the point it’s needed
  • design for people whatever their background, circumstance, skills or subject knowledge

5. Release iteratively and often

Put products and services in people’s hands quickly so we can test our thinking and make adjustments based on data.

  • break down projects into smaller parts so they are easier to deliver
  • prioritise what needs to be delivered
  • experiment
  • release quickly, learn fast and make improvements

6. Provide support

Support the technology that runs our platforms and help colleagues who look after services to make sure that users have the best experience.

  • document how things work
  • keep our infrastructure up-to-date
  • provide support where and when it’s needed
  • train colleagues to make the best use of the products we’ve built

7. Share

Build better products and services by sharing what we’ve learnt with colleagues.

  • talk about what we’re making as we make it and explain why
  • put in the effort to help and encourage each other
  • listen to colleagues
  • make time for the community by actively contributing

After reviewing the principles, we want to go one step further. We are sharing them with our colleagues from the University's digital community and inviting them to contribute to making them even better - to get involved email

Our Digital principles have been inspired by GDS and Co-op

Posted in: Digital strategy, Digital transformation

Download and print out the digital principles


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