Helping Government Digital Service with Interaction Design
- Government Digital Service
Families and businesses need to know how to deal with the impact of Brexit changes. We aimed to fill this gap by asking them to answer a few questions to get a personalised list of actions.
A considerable amount of user research and testing went into this project. We had a clear understanding of participant views on Brexit and the checker as a service. We were able to use this information to iterate and improve on design and offering.
I worked closely with a content designer to improve the questions flow and remove any doubt users had with some questions. I prototyped and designed the complete flow, ready for testing.
We had many opportunities to test our prototype, which added a lot of value towards design decisions. We first tested our prototype internally with the collaboration and expertise of our team, as well as performing pop-up testing at King’s Cross Station.
We attended an SME business event with Islington Council, where we were able to get businesses interacting on mobile devices with our prototype, whilst taking notes for further discussions with the rest of the team. All user testing was a valuable insight towards delivering a User-Centred Design service.
What did we learn
We found that all participants were aware of the campaign through billboards and online advertising. Participants were broadly reluctant to prepare for Brexit due to either thinking it was not impacting them or because they wanted to get certainty on the outcome first.
Without going into too much detail, we had many challenges, not just with the Brexit checker as a service, but individual questions, one, in particular, was ‘business sector’. Research had shown that users found it frustrating finding and choosing options relevant to them.
This challenge meant users would get non-related actions in their results page, and would also miss out on necessary tasks they needed to do.
Exploration of SIC codes
We decided that an exploration of how we could use SIC codes to help businesses find the right sector in the business question of the checker.
SIC codes describe the main business activity when registered at Companies House. Business owners would be more familiar with the wording and terminology used when forming a business.
We felt that we could potentially tap into Companies House API, and use that data to help business users identify their sector. I designed and prototyped a solution presented to businesses as an alternative to the question that was not working as expected.
UK organisations have been getting funding directly from the EU. The Government guaranteed some of that funding if there was a no-deal Brexit. The problem was that Government departments didn’t know who all of those organisations were, so they wanted them to register.
This process previously consisted of a business completing a spreadsheet and emailing it to the Cabinet office for review. If an organisation met these criteria, they would be eligible for funding.
The team agreed we needed a pattern for a double opt-in feature for our email subscription signup journey. Initially, we started talking about the sign up for Brexit-centric notifications, but quickly realised the potential for an extended, service-agnostic, pattern that could improve services across GOV.UK.
The reason behind this decision
Legal requirements imposed by GDPR meant we must not send emails to a user without their consent. These rules also govern the storage of personal data. There was also a user need to protect data and to help the user make an informed decision about signing up.