Alpha sprint 2 notes

The second sprint concluded yesterday and things are shaping up nicely.

Prioritising user stories

User stories on our Trello and real life boards got sorted to inform functionality.

Elastic search

The prototype now uses Elastic to search the database of business partnering opportunities which will allow the site some pretty impressive functionality. The current site searches keywords anywhere in the content and returns results by relevance (number of times those keywords appear) or age (newest to oldest). Elastic will allow us to be more sophisticated, (weighting keywords in headline, summary or body copy, weighting by popularity and that sort of thing) and will likely use as the brains behind the email, rss, sms alerts.

I want to explore the idea of using this sort of data to drive more intelligent audience segmentation too. Perhaps a step too far for EEN at the moment, but the infrastructure is there to do it.

A clunky bit of meta data I want to move away from is serving the different ways search results can be cut. An partnering opportunity is either an offer or request, then cut another way, an opportunity is either commercial, technology or research. Whilst that makes sense to advisers and maybe some hardcore users (not come across any yet), it’s not intuitive. Which discovery confirmed. Another issue is that an opportunity might be tagged ‘offer’ but the headline would have ‘request’ in it. That’s not because it’s wrong, but because the definitions advisers (who write them) use, need a bit of finessing.
Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 6.28.32 AM

“Yes, it’s fairly obvious. So mine would go in as a request. I’ve got a technology which I’ve developed and I’m looking for a partner to manufacture and sell it. […] Or it could be that I’m offering the technology for somebody to pick up so actually… how do you distinguish?”

To get around this, we’re trying out the following copy for each of the offer, request, commercial, technology or research variation. (Doing the hard work to make things simple, and all that.)

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 6.31.04 AM

We’ll wait and see how users get on in usability testing.


We’ve started to mock up a few designs in sketch. I’ve never come across Sketch before and the pace Neil the designer knocks these out is almost like scamping, and enough for front end devs to get their teeth into in sprint 3.

Here’s one approach of an opportunity page (reference on the current site)…

Approach 3

…and here’s one approach to a search page (reference on the current site)…

Search Results (GDS) - Selected

Neil and I played with a few different things, starting from the GOV.UK style, then pulling it towards the brand guidelines we need to nod to – the beauty of a GOV.UK exemption 🙂