Codefest 2014 and the Web Experience Toolkit

Posted on August 27, 2014 by Lisa

Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking at Codefest here in Ottawa.  This volunteer-run event supports the Web Experience Toolkit (WXT) community. Everyone who works with or contributes to the Toolkit was invited to attend – and this year 500 of them came out for morning talks and in the afternoon: workshops, a Design Jam and a CodeSprint.

Laura Wesley is the dynamo behind the Government of Canada’s Standard on Web Usability. She has posted a Storify of the event tweets,  including videos, Vu Nguyen’s fantastic photos and top tweets from the talks and workshops:


Lisa Fast at Codefest August 2014


Tom Pechloff at the Ottawa Business Journal interviewed Laura and I about the event  highlights and posted an article:

Government of Canada CIO Corinne Charette kicked the event off by laying out some challenges for the coming year. Her challenge to move and streamline the over 1,000 non-authenticated web applications on Government of Canada web sites is a stretch target. This is great news for citizens, as I tweeted “Web applications are the engines of self-service”.  As those applications move, as with all things WET, there will be a strong focus on usability – ensuring that the application users can successfully complete their tasks.

Speaking of successfully completing tasks – the site, a lead Web Experience Toolkit site, published some of the highlights of our recent testing project with them on their blog. Are you brave and transparent enough to publish your testing highlights?

Neo Insight’s talk at Codefest focused on human technology rather than web technology. I told a simple story, highlighted with video clips from usability test sessions, about how human perceptual and attention capacities can cause graphic boxes in a web page design to simply not be seen. Often, this is the very reverse of the web page designer’s intent – they meant for the box to highlight the most important task step on the page, yet users don’t even notice it. Given the laughs and audience feedback afterwards, I’m sure the designers in the audience will be careful where and how they use boxes in the future.

To learn more about inattentional blindness –  how we tend to pay attention only to expected events, keep up with Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons at their Invisible Gorilla blog:

A Youtube video of the presentation is being prepared, and I’ll post the link here when it’s available. Many people have asked for a copy of the slides but they were created for speaking, not reading, so later, I’ll write up a blog post with the same message in an easily shared format.

  • [We will post the Youtube link here when it becomes available]

Big shout-out to Codefest 2014 co-Chairs Thomas Gohard of the Treasury Board Secretariat and Samantha Lovelace of Jumping Elephants [6] for a job well done!

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[2] Image:




[6] Jumping Elephants:

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