What we have been up to: March/April 2016

We have blogged about some key parts of the poole.gov.uk redesign project but I want to give you more regular updates on what we have been doing.

Discovery phase

We are now reaching the end of the discovery phase. This phase is primarily about understanding user needs and using them to inform how the site will look, be structured and what should be included on it.

We split the phase into sprints:

  • IA (information architecture) – how the site is structured
  • UX and accessibility (user experience) – how it will work
  • Design part 1 – how the site will be laid out
  • Design part 2 – how the site will look

UX and accessibility

We have created accessibility standards that we will be used to help make our new website accessible for all.

We hope to test the site with users who have particular accessibility requirements such as:

• blind/partially sighted, screen-reader users
• screen magnification users
• deaf British Sign Language users
• keyboard-only users
• speech-recognition software users
• users with dyslexia
• users with autism.

Information architecture – how the site is structured

We have been analysing the results of the card sorting exercise  and will be using them as a basis for structuring the content on the redesigned poole.gov.uk.

We will then start creating the structure of the site and test it with our users.

Design part 1 – how the site will be laid out (wireframes)

We have created over 20 wireframes for all the types of pages and elements we will have on the new poole.gov.uk.

A wireframe is commonly used to lay out content and functionality on a page which takes into account user needs and user journeys. Wireframes are used early in the development process to establish the basic structure of a page before visual design and content is added.

Design part 2 – how the site will look (visuals)

We have just returned from a trip to Nottingham to see Ideagen, our content management system provider. We met with Dave, one of the designers, who took us through the early designs we have created.

We hope to be able to share visuals with you all soon to get your thoughts and feedback!

Matt Louis, Project Lead

Card sort : results are in!

Many thanks to all of you who took part in our card sorting exercise. This information is going to help us form our new user-centred poole.gov.uk.

The main aim of the exercise was to help us understand where users expect to find information and how they would label and group this information.

We contracted Dr Emily Webber from The Insight Lab to conduct the research and most of this post is based on her report.

Who took part

136 people started the card sort and of those, 96 completed it.

The majority of participants (70%) had visited poole.gov.uk before and were at least partially familiar with it. Of those remaining, 17% had never visited the site before, and 13% had visited but reported not to be familiar with it.

Whilst participants represented a range of ages, we failed to target those aged 70 plus resulting in a lower proportion of older users.


Results and findings

Participants were asked to group cards together in categories that made sense to them.

Some grouped in very small categories with only a few cards per group, e.g. Adoption and fostering; Museums; Garden and Commercial waste; others grouped broadly using categories such as Environmental services; Community services and Care.

Similarities and differences in the ways that cards were grouped suggest that multiple routes to information are needed to meet user expectations, and ensure that content is clearly understood and found.

Whilst neat groupings give us useful categorisations to form the basis of a user-focused structure, it is the ‘difficult to sort’ services (such as Prejudice incidences and hate crime) that are the key to minimising user frustration.

If they are difficult to sort, it stands to reason that users will also struggle to know where to look for them.

Following analysis these 11 primary content groups emerged:

  • Waste and recycling
  • Education, work and training
  • Local issues and law
  • Carers and caring
  • Roads and highway maintenance
  • Report an issue
  • Transport and travel
  • Weather warnings
  • Housing and buildings
  • Things to do
  • Births, deaths and marriages.

It’s important to note that the names given to the categories above were chosen as a representation of the range of those given by participants.

Next steps

Using this valuable feedback we can now start to shape how the site will be structured.

The groupings will be a foundation to build the rest of the site around, with a few tweaks here and there.

We need to make sure we provide a clear structure for all users to be able to complete an action and find information easily.