My Account user testing
Sevenoaks District Council (SDC) have created a My Account function on their website to enable residents to access common information about their property, eg. council tax balance, bin collection days and their councillors.
Smarter Digital Services (SDS) were asked to assist with a day of user testing to explore residents’ views of the My Account function and how they accessed this from within the website. This would enable SDC to uncover any shortcomings of the functionality of My Account and to what extent this would impact customers’ ability and desire to use it.
Residents completed various scenarios, eg. find your bin collection day. Observations by SDS were whether people would find the location of the information and what they would do when, in order to access the information, they would have to log into My Account or even create a My Account if they didn’t already have one.
Generally, users found the My Account familiar and fairly useful, although it was noticed that most users didn’t realise that they had to be already logged into My Account to take advantage of the address prefill feature. Because of this, many users who did not have an account were then required to register for one before they could access the information. One major drawback was that once they had registered and entered My Account, they were not delivered to the form or information they had originally been looking for. This resulted in users having to go back to the start and try to find the information or form again.
Most users didn’t associate their My Account page as being different to the main website. When they were logged into My Account, they still wanted to click on menu buttons and use the search box which effectively led them away from My Account. When the user went to look for Local Information (which is personalised within My Account) they were inclined to just do this using normal menus on the main website and therefore missing the personalised local information within My Account.
Users were generally not that interested in ‘using’ their My Account other than when they are required to in order to transact. None of the users necessarily expressed an interest in revisiting it regularly to check on a case for example, but would rather receive an email directly from the council about any issues relating to their specific case. Most users expected the Council to push any notifications to them via email.
On the whole, users thought a My Account was a good idea, but on reflection they didn’t imagine that they’d come back and use it that much.
Following the user testing, SDS and SDC met up to conduct a MoSCoW analysis of the findings. By going through each issue, SDC were able to prioritise the issues and give actions to relevant teams to improve the customer experience. This was useful to identify quick fixes and also important so that any more complex issues could be given the right priority when planning updates to the website.
This user test proved very useful for Sevenoaks and gave them plenty of information about the usability of the My Account function and how users found it and interacted with it.