Andrew Travers Andrew Travers is an interaction designer and researcher. He’s the author of Interviewing for research.

Andrew Travers


Nothing ever lasts forever

Farewell IDeA. It was fun.

Friday, August 31st marked the last day of, part of familiar cycle of centralising government websites. It was - once upon a time - the website of the Improvement and Development Agency for local government, which back at the turn of the millennium was the closest thing you could find to a government startup.

Part energetic think-tank, part driven consultancy, part digital resource, for 2001 the IDeA was miles ahead of its time, and it’s where I spent four years as internet manager alongside many people who are still, a decade and more on, high on a list of the best people I’ve ever worked with. Sean Powley, Jayne Oxley, Farhan Lalji, Catherine Forbes, Christian Walsh, Ciara Owen, Natasha Gray, Gareth Wall - I mean you.

During my time at the IDeA, my small team took a perfectly ordinary website and made it something pretty special. We were among the first, if not the very first, to rollout a pure CSS-driven layout on a government site, right at the time that Wired and ESPN were doing the same; we hand-rolled our own content management system; we wrote immaculate markup; we were a benchmark site for accessibility; we were doing proper, hard content strategy before it was a ‘thing’; we worked with two fantastic agencies in Precedent and Getfrank on the design at various stages. We had a ball.

I joked at a dinner with friends a while back that sometimes I really missed ‘being a webmaster’. This is what I meant - working on this site, day in, day out, making it better every single day. I’m very, very proud of the work I and that team did back then. Sad to see it go.

IDeA website back in 2004 IDeA website, back in 2004.