This is a blog that I wrote for the GirlGuiding Digital Blog. It’s not my usual style, I don’t normally like to write ‘we did this and this and this’ – however, for the purposes of the blog, I thought that this is what they wanted.
Inspiration, ideas and information were just three of the things that were bounced back and forth between team digital and our facilitators this weekend.
We wound our way from every corner of the UK to meet at the electric works in Sheffield, at the headquarters of yoomee, the wonderful team who are carrying out the redesign of the GirlGuiding website.
11 members of team digital were able to make the meeting, some of us has met before, with some new faces who were readily welcomed to the team. There are 15 members of team digital in total, all but one who are already involved in GirlGuiding. Last but not least we had Jo, Helen and Lucy from GirlGuiding HQ to lead the meeting and discussion. The air was filled with expectation and excitement as we filed into the electric works on Sunday morning, ready for a busy day of discussion.
Meeting our Guest Speakers
Firstly we were welcomed by the lovely Carrie who had been working hard to ensure that everything was going to be perfect for our meeting (and it was). Once we were up to the third floor we were introduced to a few amazing women who each told us a little about what they did and how they got into their respective creative industries.
Carrie @carriemoja, employed as a web developer by youmee with a degree in fine art and a love of gaming that launched her into her current career. She has also recently designed and released her first game on google play.
Amy @AmyFarry an ex-primary school teacher who took the plunge and rebranded herself as Gingerink – her own PR and marketing company, she works freelance with many small companies in and around Sheffield.
Claire @kitation was the next speaker, she had started the world of work in retail then realised (after a difficult choice between game design and software engineering) decided that a future in software was the one for her. She’s not only a yoomee employee but also a volunteer at code club and code club plus – teaching children and teachers how to code, supporting the recent changes to the national curriculum.
Lydia @StudioBinky is a freelance graphic designer who has taken leaps and bounds through graphic design and the world of adobe illustrator, from being the first female employee at The Designers Republic to designing for a huge range of clients from Thornton’s, to Paul Smith and raspberry pi.
A whirlwind of workshops
After the introductions and presentations we were split into groups to take part in a workshop carousel, were we were given the opportunity to talk at greater length with our facilitators and take part in activities that they were running for us, such as writing a bio and drawing illustrations, learning the basics of coding, and the importance of designing a website with access for all in mind.
The first workshop in my carousel was bio writing with Amy, we wrote a little more about ourselves for the digital blog. Our first bios were only 140 characters – the same length as a tweet. This should let everyone get to know us a little better!
Next we were whisked off by Carrie to learn a few bits of coding and to see how our code influenced a website in real time.
It was around this this time that we had lunch and the office was alive with chatter about all we had learned that morning.
Soon enough, we were back to the carousel and we were onto Claire’s station. We were focusing on accessibility, looking at colourblindness and using screen readers as a blind or partially sighted person might. At this point we were beta testing the website and had to use the screen reading function to navigate through the website whilst blindfolded. It was quite eye opening and it was great to see how hard yoomee are working to make the website accessible for as many people as possible.
The final station (for me at least) was Lydia’s – we were designing our own digital self-portrait in Lydia’s adorable trademark style to go with the bio’s written earlier in the day. We had the chance to design it on illustrator or paper, depending on own preference.
After a short break we gathered back together to do more in depth beta testing of the new website. Finding information, picking up on little things that we didn’t like – we had quite a list of positives and negatives, but we were overwhelmed to see the progress that has been made so far. The style, design and content were all superb. During the final section of the day we were given the chance to discuss and feedback our ideas for having an ‘opportunity finder’ – a tool for discovering and applying for all of the opportunities available to members.
Time to go, so soon?
Before we knew it a glance at the clock showed that the meeting was over. We all made our way across the road to the train station and slowly drifted off to different platforms in order to make our various journey’s back home, to all corners of the UK. We were all exhausted, but happy and uplifted at the thought of the progress and friends we had made.