Pay a parking fine: user journey wireframes

9 Mar 2015

We looked at user journey workshops from Really Useful Days, council websites, and other websites to create an example of what a good 'paying a parking fine' user journey might look like. We have focused on paying online in the journey below.

This is just one example of what the journey could look like, but we'd like local authorities to let us know what it might be missing or changes you would make.

You can comment below and let us know what you think, what you'd do differently, or some of the challenges in improving user journeys on council websites.

Page 1 - Pay a parking fine landing page

You can also view this as a larger web page.

Page 2 - Pay a parking fine: Welcome to online payment

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Page 3 - Pay a parking fine: Billing details

You can also view this as a larger web page.

Page 4 - Pay a parking fine: Checkout

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Page 5 - Pay a parking fine: Finish

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25 thoughts on “Pay a parking fine: user journey wireframes”

  1. Judith Glennie says:

    Good use of plain English will pass it on.

  2. Richard S says:


    On page one, I would hide the contact details for other ways to pay behind a link. Make them work for the more expensive channels. Logic being, the customer is currently online, the form is in front of them, last thing you want to do is present the phone number, email, or otherwise to them at this stage making them go “Oh, I’ll just call”. I’d use a link titled something like “You can find other ways to pay your parking fine here.” and put all the contact stuff on a separate page.

    In the introduction on page one where it lists pre-requisites, I’d also be tempted to add some kind of estimate for time to complete the form. “This form should take approximately two minutes to complete” or similar.

    We’ve also taken the view that when rewriting content, we no longer try to use acronyms like PCN. We’ll write it out as penalty charge notice in all places it appears. The odd one slips in … but generally it’s easier to read in full and given the opportunity I’d prise off the Shift key and write everything lower case! Good to see you’ve lowercased 99% of your content / form.

    Hope that’s useful. Gernally, looks sensible in terms of layout and aim. Look forward to seeing this change as comments come in; we’re at a point currently where we’re revisiting forms so would be good to call on some standard guidance.

    Thanks Abby (and team).

  3. Liz Barnard says:

    User journeys at this level are maybe helpful in creating a vision and making the general case for channel shift, for example to Members, but they are so dependent on the software specifications that they may not be applicable very widely. It will be interesting to hear what others think. We have found through all our Business Process Re-engineering and channel shift work that a) a much greater level of detail is needed very quickly and b) it’s almost impossible to use anything generic as the various systems that the journey needs to interact with (CRM, payments, service back office systems) impose their own requirements on the journey.

  4. Petar Balac says:


    The only issue that I would raise is that a number of county council/district councils operate a dual PCN service, where one system is for tickets issued for car park offences and another system is in operation for dealing with on-street parking offences.

    To the customer – it’s a parking ticket – but to the organisation, it’s two distinctly different processes usually involving a third-party.

  5. Phil says:

    I think this looks really good.

    Do you have any plans to approach payment system providers, with a view to them re-designing what they offer to match the above?

  6. Malcolm Hollister says:

    If you are going to show the automated telephone payment channel show the number not a link to it which is an unecessary click

    Postcode lookup would be helpful

    Looking good generally, accords with principle of least astonishment

  7. Chris says:

    Looks fine and fit for purpose

    Two minor points
    If I write a cheque within 14 days, is that accepted by the authority even if it gets there a week later? Or goes the money have to be received by the authority within 14 days?

    Is there any validation of payment? Verified by visa etc?

  8. Liz says:

    Hi Abby,
    I agree with Phil above – I like the payment part of your form but some of the large payment providers don’t make this type of layout possible.
    Even with our integrated forms, all the payment fields where the customer is on the third party provider’s site can appear rather clunky.

  9. Lola Denwood says:

    As a user journey I think this is spot on.
    I would argue that the functionality being talked about in the comments would be dealt with in a process journey?
    We should think of the user journey as providing value for the citizen rather than pushing them down a route we want them to take. (It’s what they want to do not what we want them to do?)
    I would say there could be a generic user journey. In an agile environment functionality is added with each iteration.
    +Liz Barnard, what requirements do the CRM, payments, service back office systems impose on the user journey? Why can processes that support the user journey not be put in place?

  10. Kayleigh Lancaster says:

    I think the ‘user journey’ looks good and would appear to work well. If I was using this website I would be happy with how easy it is to use and navigate.

  11. Abby says:

    Some brilliant comments so far – thanks so much!

    I’m adding in some comments that were emailed to me and contain some really good ideas.

    From Justine at West Suffolk:-

    The wireframe looks very clear and easy to follow and I don’t think you are missing anything – it has highlighted a couple of things that we could improve on (eg adding what you need before you pay).

    Personally I find phrases like ‘This page tells you…’ unnecessary – the page title tells you that this page is about paying a parking fine so there is no need to add extra words to say the same thing. Instead the first sentence could say something along the lines of ‘The quickest and most convenient way to pay your Penalty Charge Notice (also called a parking fine or ticket) is online…’

    We launched a new website in November with a ‘Report, pay apply’ section which has a ‘Pay’ page and ‘Ways to pay’ page which have information for most of our services – so if it changes we only have to change it once not on every page where payments can be made.

  12. Abby says:

    From Linda Methven at Eden council:-

    Only comment/ suggestion is:

    A) highlight the 50% discount more as suggested (eg “SAVE 50% by paying within 14 days”)
    B) show the customer where they can find the PCN number (eg image of parking ticket)

    I was also uncomfortable about the wording “ 14 days of getting it” should be 14 days from —— the date defined —- not sure what that date is.

  13. Abby says:

    From Jane at Powys:

    It looks great, and I think more of these would be really useful.

    The only thing I’d add is a postcode look-up when entering payment details?

    1. Linda Methven says:

      Hi Jane

      Good point about the postcode look up, I didn’t spot that.

  14. Abby says:

    From Jess Redway at Hampshire:-

    I think it looks good. Nice and simple process. Also I think this is a really great idea to help councils see how to make improvements on key areas!

    My only comments are really small things about the wording and how it could be simplified.

    Page 1: You could get rid of that first paragraph. It really isn’t necessary. Just have “you will get a 50% off your parking fine or Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) if you pay within 14 days of getting it”

    Under other ways to page all the ‘Please’ is not needed. Cut it all right down to the facts. Eg “make cheques (no cash) payable to ‘ABC council’. Write the PCN number on the back of the cheque.”

    Page 2: No need for welcomes or pleases. Just ‘Enter your parking fine details below’

    Page 3: “Not what you expected” is in italics, I had thought that italics weren’t considered great for accessibility. Could be wrong about this though.

    Would you usually have a confirmation of the email address? Again, I know this sort of thing is up for debate.

  15. Abby Rudland says:

    After a week or so, I’ll email everyone who’s made a comment and offer to put you in touch with each other to discuss payment systems, as this seems a particular bugbear! I don’t think we can solve that at Local Digital, but we can support and put people in touch… You might be able to gang up to change things… maybe…

  16. Rahna Riley at Rochdale says:

    There’s already a fair amount that’s already been covered and some really valid points. Here are some likes and potential improvements.

    Like: Good use of headings; plain English; call to action button; know details required upfront before paying online; more expensive channels to pay are grouped, ordered by least expensive first and demoted which fits in with channel shift.

    Potential improvements: Reword first para as I’m already on the page; adding the word ‘convenient’ is subjective and should consider removing; change order of bullet points as if I don’t have the relevant credit card I can’t pay online; change call to action button to include the word online so the link text is meaningful when read out of context; ideally keep heading ‘Other ways to pay’ and moved content into an accordion to encourage channel shift; change ‘visit’ our automated payments line to ‘ring’; avoid abbreviations; move Appeal a parking fine to Related pages section; change ‘visit us in person’ to simply ‘visit us’ as there’s no other way to visit us.

    Sorry not had time to look at the online payments system in details however it may be worth changing the heading to something like Make a payment.

  17. British Motorists Protection Association says:

    Why not improve the “Appeal” option by making it bigger – or even reminding people they have the legal right to challenge. After all you do not want people paying you money to which you have no lawful entitlement, do you?

  18. Abby Rudland says:

    From Cath Bell at Carlisle:-

    Looks good, only very minor comment is on Page 1 statement re “you can visit us in person & pay by cash or cheque”.
    Many Authorities no longer operate a cashiers facility & as such the only options to pay in person are by card (preferred) or cheque.

    Also, other Authorities will be considering the same as us in terms of moving PCN processing to a third party supplier. As such the PCN payment page is supplied by them, branded to LA requirements & links through to the processing & payment system for that supplier, as such control over all but the first page is essentially outwith the LA. Have you included PCN software suppliers in discussion on the wireframe? If not it would be an idea to ensure the consistency across areas.

  19. Abby Rudland says:

    From Martin at Hertfordshire County Council:-

    Aware we don’t do parking fines but we do similar. For me it’s pretty good – but the confirmation pages maybe could be more re-assuring?

  20. Abby Rudland says:

    From Brad at Hertfordshire County Council:-

    Looks pretty good. Start date field may be required depending on card provider. Would have fewer address fields, and a postcode lookup to start with to prevent user having to fill in too many fields from the outset.

    In the interests of channel shift, I’d consider going with help overlay rather than providing phone number / email address up front on right hand side (and consider shifting shifting to ‘other ways to pay’ page).

    Perhaps need greater confirmation for the user that their fine is paid and what happens next?

  21. Abby Rudland says:

    From Cathy at Hertfordshire County Council:-

    On page 2 I’m not sure “Welcome” is a helpful title for the first step in the process, maybe ticket/PCN number would be better, something that says what it’s about.

    On page 4 I think it would be good to confirm the name and address details as well as the amount paid – that’s pretty standard when ordering things online.

  22. Abby Rudland says:

    From Davina at Hertfordshire County Council:-

    Page 1: Under other ways to pay, if automated phone is cheap I would leave this but make it easy and show the number.

    Page 1: Instead of ‘By post’ I would make the heading ’By cheque’ and then you can remove the ‘please no cash’.

    Page 1: I would remove the ‘In person’ bit as it is the same as above paying by cheque. Then you don’t need to say you can pay by cash. If the cash option is possible then it could be handled if someone comes in and insists on paying in cash, but no need to mention it here.

    Pages 3-5: Suspect you would use a specialist ‘online payment package’ so many fields will be dictated by them, however I like the status bar: Welcome, billing details, checkout and finish, so you can see how many steps are involved.

  23. Helen Strain says:

    I’ve come rather late to this party but just wanted to say that the wireframes are a very useful idea.
    Agree with others’ comments about payment providers. (Not convinced that the suppliers always listen!)

  24. Stacy Gibbs says:

    Hi Abby

    Thanks for sharing this wireframe – it has prompted me to have another fresh look at some of our customer journeys on our website which is always a good thing. I like the suggestion about making the ‘other ways to pay information’ less obvious and I will probably use an accordian layout for this.

    I look forward to seeing other wireframes in the future.

    Best wishes

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