A deputy is a person appointed by the Court of Protection to manage the affairs of someone who lacks the mental capacity to manage their own affairs. A deputy is usually a friend or relative of the person who lacks capacity, but in some circumstances could be a professional such as a solicitor or accountant or another professional appointed by the court.
Designing interactions and UX a digital service to replace the existing paper form system. The user research concluded that many lay deputies really struggled with having to complete yearly accounts for their charge, coupled with some very badly designed paper forms that many simply couldn’t understand.
Some of the problems we tried to solve were around the user not understanding the tasks through the lack of plain english; Not having a clear understanding of what information was needed from them; Users being uncomfortable with being asked to do the task of an accountant; Fears around making mistakes with the figures, which could lead to some serious outcomes.
The starting point for most projects is to map out and understand the existing process. From there it’s about identifying pain-points and opportunities to change or improve the service.
This was one of many user journey flows that were developed. This one shows the process of the user submitting an end of year report.
It was the basis of the work to understand 6 main areas opportunity to be able to propose 3 different scope sizes of the project to the stakeholders, so they could decide on which areas of the process to focus on first.
The best design process always starts with pen and paper. This is an early design for the accounts section of the deputy report, showing how the ‘money in’ and ‘money out’ sections can be expanded and contracted.
This is a design showing a validation message for when a user creates a new report. It also shows the previous years’ report as well as the client’s detail.
This later iteration of the design shows the deputy report ‘accounts’ section displaying an error validation state.
Further to user testing a dynamic overview area was introduced to orientate the user when they first started to fill out their first report. It was also useful to play back what was still outstanding for the user to do in the report at a later stage.
An important aspect of the design was the use of natural language to dissect the sometimes beguiling requests of the deputies in filing their annual reports.
This later design and content iteration of the navigation shows the the GDS accessibility design pattern of highlighting the area of a form that the user is currently on.
Every government digital service has to pass very rigid critical assessments fulfilling criteria around code, security, design and accessibility. This allows the service to pass through the ‘Alpha’ and ‘Beta’ stages of service development, through to a ‘Live’ service status.
For the ‘Complete your deputy report online’ service assessment, a timeline of the project milestones was devised and tied them to specific examples in a wall collage. This helped the assessors understand the service in a much more rounded way.