News

The SDS blog

We provide support and guidance, external challenge, sharing good practice, industry knowledge and practical insights as well as being a valuable resource for councils on the next stage of their digital journey.

Understanding your users

Website content analysis user testing

Dartford Borough Council wanted to gain user perspectives about their website. SDS tested the website with live users for ease of navigation, user-friendliness, the language and tone as well as the look and feel of the website. SDS engaged with 5 service areas, Enforcement and Regulatory, Waste, Housing, Planning and Environmental Health.
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Understanding your users

Housing Register – User Research

The SDS team have been working with the Local Government Association (LGA) in order to deliver six workshops (ranging from user research and user testing to developing a comms plan) to benefit five of their partners who have received funding to deliver digital housing and homelessness services to their residents, like the project delivered across Kent in 2017.
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Understanding your users

Web pages and forms user testing

SDS were asked by three partner authorities in Cambridge (Cambridge City Council, South Cambs District Council and Hungtindonshire District Council) to test the most used web pages and forms on their websites to explore how users interact with the website and complete a specific task. This was to see how long it took for users to complete a transaction and whether they did so successfully.
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Understanding your users

Council letters user testing

In order to improve communications with residents and reduce avoidable contact, SDS were asked by Tandridge District Council to usability test 6 of their existing revenues and benefits letters with users. During the usability test, SDS suggested an alternative for each letter in order to gain insightful and constructive user feedback for both the existing and alternative letters.
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Understanding your users

Customer Account user testing

In October, SDS conducted a day of user testing at Sevenoaks District Council, exploring residents’ views of their website and My account function. This involved residents attempting to complete various scenarios leading them to either set up an account or login to an existing account.
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Digital solutions

LGA Case Study – Digital Housing

The Local Government Association (LGA) have published a case study of work Smarter Digital Services undertook for Kent Homechoice to deliver the online housing pre-assessment form, full application form and homelessness triage tool.
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Understanding your users

Focus Groups in Tandridge

Tandridge District Council (TDC) invited Smarter Digital Services to deliver a series of Focus Groups with residents to capture the voice of the customer and gain a better understanding of customers priority needs when contacting, interacting and transacting digitally with the council.
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Training

LGA Digital Housing Programme

The homelessness triage tool has been updated to comply with the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017, and is now being used by all local authorities in Kent.
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Understanding your users

HEF cover letter user testing

After attending our Behaviour Change workshop in May, Maidstone Borough Council put what they had learnt into practice by redesigning their Household Enquiry Form cover letter. SDS were asked to deliver user testing with 7 residents to review the letter and give recommendations for any further improvements based on residents' feedback.
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Understanding your users Website redesign

Website Information Architecture

SDS have been using a range of tools to assist Tunbridge Wells Borough Council with their website redesign project. Starting with a first click analysis, followed by a card sort analysis and finally a tree sort analysis. These tools helped us to identify users' expectations of where they would expect to find content.
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Service design Understanding your users

Identifying Customer Demand – Folkestone & Hythe DC

Smarter Digital Services have been working with Folkestone & Hythe District Council to identify the customer demand broadly across all services, but specifically within Council Tax.
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Service design Understanding your users

Preparing for the Homelessness Reduction Act

On the 13th February, we facilitated a workshop with Ashford customer services and housing options officers to agree and map out the required process that will meet both user needs and the needs of the new Homelessness Reduction Act legislation that comes into force in April this year.
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Service design Understanding your users

Behaviour Change Revival

At the beginning of January, Dom delivered a series of five training workshops for customer services staff in Swale, outlining the need to shift the way we provide services and interact with our customers, encouraging self-service wherever possible.
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Training Understanding your users

User testing workshop

To start the year off, we invited our partners to a user testing workshop in Ashford where we explained and had a go at doing a user test, covering everything from recruiting people to take part, designing the scenarios to test, carrying out the interview and analysing the findings.
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Understanding your users

Tonbridge & Malling Borough council website user testing

At the end of November we conducted 10 user tests for Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council, exploring residents' views of their website and the My Account function.
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Digital solutions

Press Release: SDS news article for the Public Sector Executive

Catherine Bright, Smarter Digital Services (SDS) manager, explains how a partnership of 12 councils across Kent and Surrey are jointly funding a responsive, independent, not-for-profit consultancy to help them to achieve their digital ambitions.
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Understanding your users

Cambridge City Council – User testing & citizen portal account research

Cambridge contacted SDS to use the team’s expertise to conduct a series of user tests on a selection of their online citizen self-service web forms. Cambridge wanted to explore the customer experience of transacting with the council via the self-service web forms to gain feedback as to how users feel when carrying out a specific task or transaction.
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Training Understanding your users

Really useful workshops – User Research at the Discovery Phase

In July we held the first of our Really Useful Workshops at Swale House which was attended by collegues from several of our partners. This first session - User Research at the Discovery Phase - demonstrated how important it is to speak to your users/customers at the beginning of the project.
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Digital solutions Service design

LGA Annual Conference – Innovation Zone

We attended the LGA Annual Conference in Birmingham and gave a presentation in the Innovation Zone about the services we offer to local authorities.
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Website redesign

Tandridge District Council website redesign

We are very pleased to announce the launch of the Tandridge District Council website on 3rd July after only 3 months in the making! In March, we were commissioned by Tandridge to assist in scoping out their new website redesign. The aim was to reduce the 1,000 content pages down to under 500 whilst giving the website a modern visual style that meets with today's responsive web standards.
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