Birmingham citizens give their views on the upcoming new council website

Continuing our work with the citizen panel and with council staff, the Birmingham City Council web team held a drop in session at Kings Heath Community Centre this month to gain valuable feedback for the upcoming new website. Using the interactive design mock-ups, our team were able to demonstrate the improved user journey across all council services, helping citizens easily find the information they were looking for. We were really pleased with the feedback regarding the improved and more prominent call to action buttons, helping the user to know where to go to carry out their task online. And because we understand that poor user experience can cause frustration and high page abandonment rates, this is a real positive and very encouraging.

Whilst the look and feel was very appealing to most, feedback from one citizen led us to ask our designers at Spacecraft Digital to verify again the colour contrast ratio of text against the blue, green and grey homepage tiles, and this passed the test with flying colours.

This was another great opportunity to involve citizens in influencing the user journeys we are building. We asked citizens to group services by topic rather than how the services currently sit on the website. A great example of how this made a difference was a page for ‘Historic Parks and Gardens’; a wonderful area of work by our conservation team, that currently sits within planning — an area that citizens wouldn’t ordinarily look for this. Without exception, each citizen we asked would look for this page under the ‘Parks’ section. This gives us real insight in to how our customers would look for information without the need for council structure knowledge. This reassures the council’s web team that we are moving in the right direction for creating logical ways to find information whether you are planner or a citizen using the new website.

Another really useful discovery from all of the sessions we held was that citizens struggled to place some services in a group. Taking this feedback on board, we are widening some category titles, as well as adding a section called ‘About Birmingham’ which proved a popular and welcome additional category

Quotes from citizens:

“The new design looks colourful, modern and appealing.”

“The images on the homepage boxes are helpful in quickly finding the section at a glance as an alternative to the text, I like them.”

“I like the search box at the top of the page, it’s very easy to find and use.”

“I like the way the website fits on the mobile phone. When I have to do things online, I usually wait until I get home and do it on my computer. It’s good to see how responsive the new website looks, depending if I’m out and about or at home.”