Blog post: With a little help from our friends….wireframes and user testing

7 Apr 2015, 2:35 pm

By Anna Fenston, Local Digital Programme

anna1Have you ever seen the Dora the Explorer?

If you don’t have kids or have managed to avoid it otherwise, here’s the gist: embark on an adventure, call on your friends for help when you need it, help your friends and others along the way and then in the end you get to have a big sing along about how ‘we did it!’

I think Dora sums up our experience creating and sharing our first model user journey for a specific online local authority service. I’m not saying it’s even fully finished and I’m not saying it’s the only user journey that makes sense, but when we first started this project, we weren’t sure how we would progress it, if anyone would give feedback, and if it would be useful.

So we decided we’d try to develop a model user journey anyway and see how it we got on. We chose ‘Paying a parking fine online.’

When a specialist usability firm was recommended to us, we met with them, but quickly realized that the groundwork for developing the model user journey and doing in-lab user testing would be way too expensive. So we decided to see what we could do on our own. Here’s what we did:

  1. We went through all the detailed user journey work done by local authorities at our Really Useful Days – these were key and helped us to highlight strengths and weaknesses in the pay a parking fine user journey that different teams had worked on.

  2. Then we looked at what local authority sites were doing – whether good or bad.

  3. Then we found Gliffy, an online program for mockups and wireframes that is free for up to five pages, and created a wireframe (think boxes and text) that we thought made sense.

  4. Then we asked another team within the Communications directorate at DCLG to go through it and give us their comments in a meeting.

  5. Then after making changes, we posted it on our website, sent it out to all our past participants at Really Useful Days for user journeys, and put it in our newsletter to get more comments

I’ll be honest, I thought we would publish it on the website and it wouldn’t get too much attention. But we were pleasantly surprised by how many people commented because we generally don’t get many user comments on the site.

We still have work to do now to take all of the comments we got and to work those back into the wireframes but I think we’ve hit on a way forward to provide other model user journeys for local authorities.

So – we started our adventure, we called on our friends for help in evaluating what we had created, and I hope, in turn, we have helped some local authorities look more closely at their own online service user journeys. Dora would be proud and would finish it off with ‘We couldn’t have done it without you. Thanks for helping!’ And that’s how we feel too.






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