The City of Stockholm develops its website through user tests
The City of Stockholm is now developing its website stockholm.se., in order to make it easier to use the services that the municipality offers. In this work, they have assigned Funka for user tests, to get an early indication of the accessibility of the site.
The City of Stockholm is now in the middle of a major development work. The technical platform for stockholm.se had become obsolete so it was about time to replace it in order to develop all the desired functionality on the website. At the same time, several improvements will also be made so that everything should work smoothly and is experienced as efficient and user-friendly.
We wanted to ensure high quality and accessibility. We want to be on the right side of where we need to be, with wide margins. It's about getting wind of weaknesses early on in the development process and getting a quick indication of how accessible our site is. Therefore, it is very useful to turn to Funka, which has a very clear concept and working method regarding user tests, says Jan Svensson, web strategist at the City of Stockholm.
It is important to present the services that are offered, so that all citizens can find and share it. The user story, ie, a user's all-round interactions when the person uses or takes part in a service, needs to be designed so that the experience as a whole is perceived as smooth as possible. The story often starts when using Google. Therefore, it's important to work with search engine optimisation, to ensure that the user finds what he or she wants. But even when you have found what you were looking for, you should be able to continue as easily as possible based on the information provided.
One way to achieve this is to work with so-called topic entries, where the content of the site is structured based on its connection to the services offered by the municipality. Through the topic entries, inhabitants will be able to apply for a place in preschool or school, get answers to parking questions or find contact information and anything else that is included in the services offered by the municipality. On the new website, more leisure based topic entries are also built in parallel, where residents can be inspired to make and discover things and take advantage of what the city of Stockholm has to offer. For example, you can see all of the city's bike paths and find bicycle pumps in a map solution that is easy to survey.
In the spring, the topic entry "Preschool" is being tested. With new design and content structure, users should be given better prerequisites for choosing a preschool or getting answers to their questions. Generally, the services offered on the site will become easier to use.
Preschools and educational care is a topic that is rich of information but yet a very clearly defined topic entry. It will be a great case for us to learn good lessons from for the continued development of Stockholm.se. In the user tests we work with a beta version. It is a delimited section of the web where we can specifically investigate the interaction design and content structures. The changes are quite large and therefore the beta format fits well to do this. By testing a new content structure and interaction design directly on real users, we can get an idea of if we are on track, says Jan Svensson.
The user tests focus on clear guidance, choice of words, the comprehensive picture, interaction design, a working content structure, and to find possible weaknesses. Both site and mobile versions are being investigated in the tests.
We are testing the part of the new website that deals with all aspects of pre-school and educational care. It is very exciting to build scenarios linked to that part and test with different users, such as parents of young children. It is also good to look at things one part at a time before introducing the concept on the entire website. We have had very exciting insights during the tests, which we think will be very rewarding in the continued development, says Josefin Wessman, Accessibility and Usability Expert at Funka.
The City of Stockholm has also chosen to have a blog on its website where you can follow the ongoing development work. Their development team shares the status of different stages of the development, their thoughts and experiences, and urge for dialogue about web development with others working with websites and digital channels, and of course also with an interested public.
A big challenge in the future is the fact that we are facing new legislation, and of course much work will be required to follow it. But we also have other development processes ahead of us. Certainly, we have many important external demands on us, but it must always be the needs of users that are in focus. We need to prioritise the web as an important channel to reach inhabitants and allow them to influence. And behind the scenes, we need to create measurability. We are currently working with KPIs, measurement plans and development reports, so as to getting wind on improvement areas, says Jan Svensson, web strategist.