- Time and cost-saving improvements
- Research and workflow analysis
- Usability improvement roadmap
As part of a programme of improvements, Makemedia were tasked with studying the workflow of DeHavilland's political research team to identify potential improvements to their process and administration tools.
DeHavilland offer products and services for public affairs professionals to track, monitor and evaluate the impact of the political environment, enabling them to effectively plan, implement and evaluate their organisations’ objectives.
Online political intelligence platform
Their political intelligence, parliamentary monitoring and consulting services deliver news, information and bespoke research through an online platform. This data is sourced and mananaged by a team of political researchers, who track the latest developments in Westminster, Parliament and Whitehall as well as the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly.
An established and trusted brand, DeHavilland had grown slowly and organically over several decades. Built upon a legacy technical platform and historical workflows, the time had come to assess the product and explore ways to bring the DeHavilland product up to date and improve operational efficiency.
In early 2014, Makemedia were tasked with studying the current workflows used to collate and distribute political data through the DeHavilland product, developing a roadmap of potential improvements to the process. This would also drive improvements to the interface to support these streamlined workflows, which would be explored in a later phase.
At Makemedia we believe the observation of users in their own environment provides the most valuable insights.
Improvements would focus on redressing the balance of admin tasks to valuable political research. Analysts were spending the majority of their day undertaking low value data input through an interface which was both time-consuming and frustrating to use. This activity was hampering DeHavilland from delivering their value proposition; in-depth, focused research for their high-value subscribers.
Observing researchers in the workplace
At Makemedia we believe that observation of users in their own environment provides the most valuable insights. Following a kickoff workshop in which we identified the key roles and workflows at DeHavilland, our UX team scheduled sessions with researchers to observe them using the existing administration software. These sessions were recorded, providing a valuable record of the workflow for further analysis.
These face-to-face sessions were supplemented with contextual enquiry; time spent observing users carrying out their normal day-to-day activity. These shadowing sessions provide additional context to the user’s workflow, observing environmental factors such as distractions, workarounds, and written artefacts to support the online processes.
One of Makemedia’s contextual enquiry sessions was conducted during Prime Minister’s Questions Time, a fast-paced session in parliament which is a challenge for researchers to record and distribute through DeHavilland. Flaws in the existing software could be discovered during this pressured and testing part of the research role, and our team would discover valuable insights for further exploration.
Research Analysis and Roadmaps
Following the face-to-face and shadowing sessions in London would be a period of research analysis. Workflows were written up and discussed with the client team, with pain points identified for improvement.
In addition to detailed workflows, we presented our observations and initial improvement suggestions. These would eventually drive a roadmap of improvements to both the user-facing admin system, customer product, and technical architecture. We have been working with DeHavilland to deliver these improvements since late 2014, and continue to work with the team on a long-term basis.
Banner photo credit – https://www.flickr.com/photos/mauricedb/2706292588/
Scottish Parliament photo credit – https://flic.kr/p/ajwaC