A customised portal where new citizens fill in all the forms step by step, which would replace the unnecessary email traffic. We also improved accessibility by following the GDS style guide.
Sketch, invision, axure, trello
During the 5-week time frame our team of 4 UX Designers worked in 4 sprints:
Islington is the most densely populated London borough. Their website allows the residents to complete tasks such as:
Understanding how council tax is used, and how to correctly calculate and pay it
Finding information related to rubbish and recycling
Applying for parking permits
Finding out about schools and childcare
To determine the project direction and to define which part of the website needs the most improvement we started with broad user research, talking to 15 people from a variety of backgrounds and age range.
We learned that 75% of Islington's population are citizens are of working age, a total of 176,250 people. We targeted our research on this demographic discovering two distict groups:
All users we spoke to mentioned inefficiency of the current communication channels and a lack of guidance about their civic obligations.
All these issues did not seem to be related to a specific service but rather a generic problem.
All the residents were using the website on their laptops so we decided to start with the desktop version before the mobile.
To understand how people like Henry interact with the council and how we can improve this interaction, we mapped the current situation:
We tested concepts and paper prototypes with 15 users, both the citizens of Islington and the staff working at the council to determine a solution that will improve the above journey. We decided to implement the following ones:
Once we knew the areas we were focusing on, we started mapping our site, to define how people will move through the pages.
Below is the simplified version of the flow we focused on. People access the internal portal through a banner on the islington.gov.uk site.
One of the issues the users encountered on the existing website were long paragraphs of very small text. We applied the guidelines from GDS (Government Digital Service) to make the website more accessible to all citizens. We also reviewed the content and applied the principles of progressive disclosure to minimise the cognitive load.
Given the time constraints, we focused on an MVP that will have the biggest impact on the users and could save most council’s time and money.
Reorganised layout following the gov.uk guidelines led to better visual clarity
Asking key residential questions let us optimise the information on the main page
To do list informs the citizens about their obligations and lets them track them
Access to all your uploaded documents with no need to send them every time you apply for something
Customised portal prioritises the content for the citizen’s needs
All council services are still listed on the side
Questionnaires and guides to determine one’s situation instead of reading long paragraphs of text
Access to help chat if needed
All uploaded documents are saved for later and accessible from “my documents” section
Assuming that every new citizen interacts with the council at least 3 times, we estimated 60K citizen interactions per year. Our internal portal could therefore save up to 12 500 working hours. The feedback we received during our final presentation was that the numbers below are underestimated and they could save much more if the solution was implemented.
The research helped us define the project scope. Given the very broad brief we didn’t want to exclude any options, so we started thinking broadly and narrowed down the problem through the user interviews and contextual inquiries.
Practice makes perfect. In this project I conducted many interviews, which gave me more confidence in speaking to people, owning the script, and asking better follow up questions.
Meeting business goals is important. We focused on developing a solution that will improve the current situation from a business perspective. Receiving positive feedback from the council gave us the confidence to develop the project.