User Research and UX design – Sector Challenge Programme – Prototyping and User Testing

This challenge is to prototype and test ways of providing remote support for individuals struggling or failing to make Universal Credit claims online for reasons like a lack of digital or language skills, or mental health issues.

Prototyping – Prototype A

I was tasked with creating Protoype A, a visualisation or ‘overview’ of steps. It was created with the intention of being a friendly and accessible overview of the whole process so that potential applicants could see the steps involved. Having used Figma before and knowing how great it is for collaborating and commenting on work, I decided to use this to create the prototype. I wasn’t starting from scratch as one of the digital team members had already created this horizontal service map:

Original Universal Credit Service Map

It was clear from our user interviews that many applicants’ only digital device is a smartphone. This diagram, therefore, needed to be vertical:

Universal Credit Service Map adapted to mobile (Version 0.1)

Testing this with our charity partners and end users, they were confused by the colour key and the ‘loops’ – Did you have to go around the ‘loops’ in order?. They also did not realise they could click on the question marks for further information.

I spent some time sketching ideas to visualise a journey on a mobile device. We discussed them at a digital team meeting and picked one to develop further based on its more informal and ‘stepping stone’ like appearance.

Sketches of possible app designs
Possible App layout sketches
Version 0.2 of the prototype

V.02 I began creating this but was initially distracted by its ‘molecular’ look (I’m a science graduate!). So decided to enlarge the circles and try them overlapping with the edges of screen.

V0.3 included a drop down language selection rather than buttons at the top. This allows for a larger choice of languages. The steps contain the part of the application process the claimant should start at and then continue to. These are connected with a pathline. The slight curve of the path gives a more friendly feel than the straight line of V0.2. Each of the circles, or steps, can be clicked on to take users to extra information and links for that step.

Version 0.3 of the prototype

V0.3 was tested with users. Overall, users really liked the friendly and simple layout. Users commented that they would feel confident starting their application with this to guide them through it. One immediate change to make was that our place holder text had confused a couple of users. This was especially due to the fact that it was below the language selection. That was an immediate change to make for version 0.4.

Traffic light user testing feedback grid
Traffic light user testing feedback
Version 0.4 of the prototype

V0.4 removed the place holder text which had, for some, become a distraction, and then adding further information on the click-through pages.

Version 0.5 was the final protoype in our 11 week project. I decided to brand it in line with one of our charity partners. Although the prototype will be made available with a CC BY-ND-SA license, this charity had expressed an interest in taking it to development.

Version 0.5 of the protoype

This isnt the finished product and there are many ways this app could be further developed. Some users suggested a checklist within this app would be helpful, some suggested that more information was needed for people who are in more complex situations.

However it is continued, the user testing results confirm this will be a useful tool for anyone starting their journey on the Universal Credit application process.