On GOV.UK, Step by steps navigation shows the user everything they’ll need to do to complete a task, whether that’s Learning to drive or Employing someone.
I briefly worked on the publishing workflow for step by steps in 2019. This showcases one goal – showing the key outcomes, process and lessons learned.
Goal: Improve how step by steps are published and reviewed so they can be published at scale
Step by steps is managed and published by a small set of Content Designers within GDS with a different publishing tool. There was no clear process for reviewing step by steps resulting in lots of adhoc communication which ultimately lengthens the process. Also, the user interface needed to be more intuitive.
The user researcher and I had several sessions with users to understand how intuitive the tool was. However, interactions with the tool are just a part of the journey to create step by steps so we decided to do a journey map. The goal was to understand at what points in the journey users interact with the tool so we can identify opportunities for improving the work flow.
We had a journey mapping session. In the way that journey maps do. we were able to identify several interactions with the tool and clear opportunities for improvement.
Planning and design
I organised a kick off to better understand the context and needs for the 2i Review workflow so we can scope it properly. Kick offs are a technique that I have used successfully to help the team get a shared understanding of an epic or problem area.
Usually I (or anybody else with the information) pull together everything we know, share with the team to review and comment, then have a meeting to confirm what we already know about the problem is true (users, needs, current processes etc), identify what we don’t know (questions, considerations etc), make the key decisions we need and determine next steps.
The goal is to be able to make key decisions at the end if there’s enough information to or determine how to get the information needed to make those decisions if there isn’t.
At the end of this one, we were able to define what the ideal review workflow should look like and identify options to let reviewers know a step by step is ready for review. Our next step was to design and implement the review workflow then determine the most appropriate option for letting reviewers know it’s ready for review
We then reviewed our designs sketches with users.
Build , deliver, learn
I wrote user stories to implement the workflow designs so a publisher can submit a step by step for review and reviewers can see when it’s ready for review, claim it and approve as needed. We also improved how we stored the status of a step by step so it’s clear what stage of the publishing process it’s in.
I also spent some time working with the team to analyse the pros and cons of the options to let reviewers know when a step by step is ready for review. There were a range of options from very simple to very complex so it was an elimination process to identify the simplest way to meets the most important needs.
- Creating a workflow for a review process can be daunting especially as you don’t want to put so many checks in the process that you hinder instead of help the user so some level of trust also has to be reflected in the process.
- Prototypes are great but simple paper sketches also work well for quick iterations.
- Implementing a 2i workflow meant clear and improved communication about the status of step by steps, enabling scaled production and reviews.
Other goals achieved
- Made step by steps publishing more intuitive by applying validated and evidenced improvements from Content Publisher to Step by Step Publisher. This saved us time
- Reduced learning curve for step by step publishers by providing contextual guidance in the tool
- Reduced effort to create fact-check view with active links from 2 hours to 1 click. This meant subject matter experts without access to the publishing tool could easily fact check step by steps and all linked pages