00 research 01 concepts 02 improving accessibility 03 solution 04 business goals 05 takeaways
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phone mockup

islington council

Redesigning the council website both for desktop and mobile, that would measurably improve user experience.

challenges

  • very broad brief & narrowing down the scope of the project
  • out of 250 000 citizens of Islington finding the audience that we could impact the most, and therefore save most council’s resources
  • following the GDS/gov.uk style guide

my contribution to the team project

  • Conducted user & SME interviews
  • Created our site map
  • Developed and tested concepts and paper prototypes
  • I set up and maintained consistency in our axure prototype

solution

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.

tools

Sketch, invision, axure, trello

laptop mockup
The personalised portal.

the design process

process diagram

During the 5-week time frame our team of 4 UX Designers worked in 4 sprints:

getting to know islington

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

islington on a map
Islington on a map of London

who are the users?

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:

sketch new citizen

new citizen – our focus

Highly transient, interacts with the council a lot
Sketch permanent citizen

permanent citizen

Interacts rarely

Meet our persona – Henry, who is a new citizen moving into the borough, representing our users:
persona photo

key user research findings

  • 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.

animated affinity diagram
We used 4 colours to distinguish the information about users, services they used, issues they encountered and opportunities

current interaction with the council

To understand how people like Henry interact with the council and how we can improve this interaction, we mapped the current situation:

henry photo
Henry is trying to inform himself about how to get a parking permit
current interaction

validating concepts

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:

sketch personalised portal

personalised portal

People wanted to answer a few questions during onboarding to get tailored content of the website. They will receive guidance based on their situation, instead of a list of all services.
sketch to do list

to do list

Users wanted a clear understanding of what they have to fulfil. The questionnaire will generate a list of civil obligations with deadlines.

mapping the site

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.

me sketching out the site map
Got caught up sketching the very first site map with my teammate
simplified site map

improving accessibility

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.

existing website and new styleguide
Revising the content & language + GDS Styleguide
new wepsite
New layout gives better orientation

the solution in detail

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.

setting up

  • 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

onboarding screen

personalised portal

  • 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

homepage

online forms

  • 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

online forms

the MVP prototype

sketch on saving time
Developing the prototype in Axure allowed us to simulate very realistic forms.

how much council time can we save?

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 presentation and the solutions highlighted would greatly improve council services if adopted”
–Yusuf, Content Editor at the Council
our group at town hall
Meeting the Council Media team at the Islington Town Hall

key takeaways