Picture this: You’re in debt. Not just a bit, but a lot. You’re stressed and anxious. You know that it’s not going to be an easy problem to solve.
You go online and look for help. You want to take control, but you’re not sure how to. You find some content that aims to help you understand your incoming and outgoings. Your spirits lift.
As you read on though, you quickly realise it’s not going to help you. The text is hard to understand – it has long paragraphs and difficult words. You’re not in the frame of mind to deal with it. You give up.
Our new tool
Understanding the state of mind of our users has been an integral part of designing a new tool to help people ‘do a budget’ online.
People can answer a series of questions about their earnings and spending. The tool gives them results that outline:
- what money they have spare
- where they can make potential savings
We’ve focused on solving people’s problems simply, based on their individual circumstances. This is important, because budgeting is a critical part of getting out of serious debt.
Listening to our users
We carried out extensive testing of the tool with clients. We also asked our advisers to use it and give feedback – they deal with people who have money issues on a daily basis, so they’re well placed to offer their thoughts.
Thanks to this, we’ve:
- clarified the wording of certain questions
- created better help text within the tool
- added extra questions to improve people’s understanding of how the tool works
What we’re doing next
We work iteratively, which means taking more feedback on board and making further improvements.
In the upcoming weeks, we want to:
- alert users if they try to restart the tool and lose their information
- make the tool available to users in Scotland and Northern Ireland
- improve some of the questions, for example adding more benefits to the list people can select from
Our biggest problem
Unfortunately we haven’t yet managed to find a solution to one of the biggest problems with the tool – that people can’t save their progress and return later.
It’s not an easy one to solve – it means doing a lot of technical work around how the whole site is built.
But it will be worth it – we want people to be able to take their time when doing a budget because we know how stressful it can be.