Most people looking for advice online start by asking Google. ‘How can I get a refund on my faulty washing machine?’ ‘I’ve lost my job – what help can I get?’ ‘How do I write a will?’
We think of Google as the homepage for our website. That’s why we use the same language people use when looking for help – and why we design content that’s easy for Google to find. We want to make it as easy as possible for people to find the advice they need.
People tend to face lots of connected issues – and are often feeling stressed and anxious. If they’re behind on their rent, for example, they’ve probably got other debts too and are worried about losing their home.
It’s also important for our advisers to be able to find the advice they need as quickly as possible, and understand how issues relate to each other.
So as well as using simple, clear language, we need to make navigating our website as intuitive as possible.
Helping people find the right advice
Our navigation menu was organised in a way that generally made sense to people within the organisation – or if you had a good knowledge of the law or policy areas. But it can be hard to find your way around as a new adviser, or as someone coming to us for help.
So, building on our previous research, we set out to test how people were looking for advice – both on our public site and AdviserNet, our resource for advisers
For example, would someone look for ‘Council Tax’ in the ‘Housing’ section or under ‘Tax’? Would they expect to find ‘divorce’ under ‘Relationships’ or ‘Law and rights’?
Testing with clients and advisers across the UK showed removing some sections and renaming others helped people find what they needed more easily.
Renaming ‘Relationships’ to ‘Family’, for example, made it easier for people to find information on child maintenance or dealing with an ill parent – without making it harder for people searching for ‘divorce’ or ‘domestic violence’.
And despite ‘Discrimination’ being an option on the top-level navigation, less than 50% of people actually looked there. Instead people searched based on where the discrimination happened.
So for the scenario ‘You think your employer is making you redundant because of your age’, people looked under ‘Work’.
And for ‘Your landlord has ended your tenancy, and you’re sure it’s because you’re pregnant’, they went to the ‘Housing’ section.
Perhaps surprisingly, removing the Discrimination section actually made it easier for people to find discrimination advice.
How the navigation will change
Based on testing, we’re going to:
- Relationships > Family
- Healthcare > Health
- Law and rights > Law and courts
It looks like this:
Putting this into practice
We’ll begin changing the top menu and moving pages on the public site from Wednesday 25 January – with the next phase of changes happening in AdviserNet in the next few months.
We know that the changes will take a while to get used to – especially for some advisers who are used to the navigation as it is now – but testing shows the changes will make finding advice easier in the long term.