https://dwpdigital.blog.gov.uk/2016/07/08/a-live-service-is-not-the-end-of-the-story/

A live service is not the end of the story

Mel Johnson - Carer's Allowance Digital Service
Mel Johnson - Carer's Allowance Digital Service

Carer’s Allowance Digital Service achieved live accreditation from Government Digital Services (GDS) in November 2014 - but this was just the start.

Since then we have delivered major changes and new features all based on extensive user research and testing.

An evolving service

Since we went live, digital take-up has gone from 53.2% to around 73.8%.  Completion rate has risen from 70.5% to 79.5% and despite making lots of changes, customer satisfaction has risen from 88.9% to 92.2% (top for User Satisfaction with 94% on GDS platform at one point) - which proves that continual user research and designing through data really works.

To prove this point, we recently received this feedback from a user: “The system is very easy to understand and very easy to fill in. In short, it’s possibly the very best HM Government form I’ve ever filled in. Excellent!”

Carer's Allowance Digital Service
Carer's Allowance Digital Service

Using data to iterate 

The best bit about a live service is that you have lots of data to work with so you can spot and resolve problem areas quickly, research solutions with users and monitor success once the changes are released.

We did this with ‘Check Your Answers’ which was a new feature based on the insight that users were going back through the application before submitting.

The 'Check Your Answers' feature on Carer's Allowance Digital Service
The 'Check Your Answers' feature on Carer's Allowance Digital Service

By providing users with a summary at the end showing what information they had entered, they are able to check their answers without having to go back through the entire application.

This has helped to reduce completion times. It also lets users go directly back to any of the sections they want to change and returns them to ‘Check Your Answers’ once their changes have been made.

Using the service to help Operations

We have also had our sights firmly set on helping the Carer’s Allowance Unit and together we have come up with a ‘Workflow Assistant’ that provides  Operations colleagues with a ‘Next Action’ feature, saving time on having to scrutinise the claim.

Whilst this has started with just seven different scenarios, it has provided the opportunity to identify up to 36% of cases that need no further enquiries and can be dealt with straight away.

Responsive design

Going live is just the start because your minimum viable product forms a baseline for many new and innovative features. There is always room for improvement and as the world changes so do our users’ expectations.

A really good example is the completion of the claims on mobile devices, where we now have more than half of our users who prefer to apply this way.

This makes responsive design even more important and means you have to really think about ‘back browser’ behaviour as this is extensively used by mobile users. We developed a solution that enables the ‘back browser’ to behave the same as the back button.

Sometimes even small changes can make a big difference.

3 comments

  1. Comment by DOUG BELL posted on

    EXCELLENT BLOG HIGHLIGHTING THAT DIGITAL SERVICES NEVER STAND STILL AND ARE CONSTANTLY IMPROVED- WELL DONE

    Reply
  2. Comment by Debbie Blanchard posted on

    Great work Mel and team! Always great to hear about the improvements you're making.

    Reply
  3. Comment by Michala Hare posted on

    Great insight into how effective this way of working can improve a service.

    Reply

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