Client: Federal government agency
Activity: Content design
Project: Content-driven design and development for new website
When we replaced pages of dense text with an interactive wizard, users could quickly and easily understand whether they needed to comply with important legal requirements.
In the client’s words
‘Weave’s undoubted strength was wrestling the complexity of the legislative and technical issues to the ground, balanced with the need to keep the user experience as clear and simple as possible. They were able to reconcile the irreconcilable.’ – Delivery Manager, Innovation and Technology Solutions
With content driving the development of this federal government agency's new website, we took our client from content strategy to launch. Our work, which was completed within 12 months, included information architecture, visual design, development in GovCMS8, content design and a full content rewrite
The agency regulates business and organisations based on complex legislation. Its users vary widely, from compliance experts within large corporates to non-English speakers in microbusinesses.
Our user research showed that many people found it hard to work out whether their business or organisation had to comply with the legislation. The previous website tried to explain users’ obligations with long web pages of dense text in impenetrable legal language.
One user told us: ‘For someone coming in it’s bewildering as to where to start. There’s a lot of information on the site.’
What we did
Content design reminds us to choose the best format for the user – and that isn’t always a text-based web page.
The breakthrough emerged during a content design workshop, when a call centre staff member took us through a simple series of questions that she uses over the phone to find out whether the caller is likely to have obligations under the legislation. What if we could design a piece of content that reproduced this conversational approach, asking one thing at a time rather than confronting the user with a large amount of information at once?
Out of this breakthrough came a wizard. We designed a simple tool that asks a series of ‘yes/know/don’t know’ questions, using branching logic to hide questions the user doesn’t need to answer.
The content for the wizard is based on the language people use when talking about the topic or searching on the web. It also reflects users’ mental models: the way they think about their obligations and the agency’s role. Finally, we worked with the legal team to make sure the content still meets legal requirements.
Usability testing found that people overwhelmingly preferred using the wizard compared to reading the previous text-based pages, and found it much easier to understand their obligations.
‘I definitely prefer the tool. If there’s a lot of text that’s not related to you, it’s very easy to switch off or miss important information.’
The tool was built using standard HTML, so it was easy to make iterative changes during development, costs were kept down, and the content will be easy to update in the future. This approach also meant we could make changes quickly and easily during live testing.
Extensive user research and identification of top tasks informed a content strategy that was the basis of the information architecture, design and content of an entirely new website. Content was created according to a content design approach. This is how:
user research for top tasks identification
content design of interactive wizard
stakeholder workshops for a plain language glossary
usability testing prior to launch.