Comments on: Design Just another WordPress weblog Tue, 27 Apr 2010 17:20:58 +0000 hourly 1 By: Andrew Lamb Thu, 25 Mar 2010 17:13:41 +0000 Whether the quote “none of our computerised public services was ever formally designed…every single one of them should have been” is true or not, there are a number of online services which reinforce the perception.

Adopting user centred design principles is absolutely the right approach to remedy this situation.

As an encouragement, I’ve witnessed first hand DWP begin to do this within their Self Service Programme.

In 2008 they re-designed their Benefits Advisor Service so propositionally it starts to add value for users.

With Directgov support, they brought in Information Architects, Interaction Designers, a Front-end developer & web copywriter and pulled the service apart.

They’ve worked with systems designers to optimise the user experience for budget available.

They invited Directgov to train more than 80 x DWP staff in basic user-centred-design principles and ingrained the maxim of “useful + usable = used”

DWP flexed a lot and by late 2008 launched a service designed substantively around the needs of customers. The evidence is that users have found it both useful & usable with conversion rates exceeding 75% – delivered in one project iteration.

Through combined working DWP introduced governance across the DWP online service estate which took effect 22 March 2010.

This requires all new DWP online services to prove they’re useful & usable before passing Critical Design Review Gate & being funded to build.

Interaction Designers are now at the core of creating journeys and wireframes based on customer insight (quantitative and qualitative) for testing.

There are still issues – culturally, adapting procurement processes, costs of usability testing etc but I’ve seen DWP genuinely break into user-centred-design including the all important “stop, challenge or review” suggestions made here.

All credit to DWP and its tiny partner Directgov.

Directgov are now working in the same way with a number of other departments – both on new services and in improving existing services as they converge into Directgov.

By: Fraser Fri, 19 Mar 2010 16:24:22 +0000 Re-evaluate digital roles