Early website testing – building a searchable, online tool for the Scottish Government

Early website testing in a site project is always important but it’s crucial when you have a lot of different users both producing and consuming content. This was proven in our recent website project for the Joint Improvement Team (JIT).

JIT is a strategic improvement partnership between the Scottish Government, NHSScotland, COSLA (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities) and the Third, Independent and Housing Sectors. The key requirement of their new website was a facility that allowed these groups and others quick and easy access to Examples of Practice (case studies), resources, news and events. The system also needed to tie in seamlessly with other ‘static’ content so the site operated as one integrated unit.

Right from the start of the project we met regularly with the JIT project team to discuss the content, its use and how it should be organised. We created site plans and data flow diagrams based on the discussions until there was an agreed structure.

Of course, it’s one thing having a structure on paper but its effectiveness can only be judged when tested in the browser.

So we built a fully interactive prototype to explore and test the organisation and filtering of content. This test site allowed key stakeholders to check the categorising, labelling and presentation of content at a stage when changes could be made relatively quickly. This process highlighted issues that could not have been spotted at the site planning stage and delivered valuable feedback from users around Scotland.