My design journey at Bracknell Forest

My name is Leyla. I joined the Bracknell Forest Council (BFC) digital services team in May 2015 as a design and usability officer. I have 14 years of experience in web design and development working in the private sector in various roles. Moving to Bracknell Forest has enabled me to fulfil my desire to work in usability and accessibility and I’m really happy that my new job has provided me with the opportunity to learn and work in this field.

Soon after taking this job, I began to do research on most of the UK council websites. I was surprised to find only a few council websites that are user friendly and responsive.

Today’s smartphones and tablets have changed the approach toward design and user experience.

Usage stats by device 2014 – 2015: Desktop: 46.19% Mobile: 36.28% Tablet: 17.53%

Having a single site which works on all devices is cost effective and also improves SEO efforts by directing all visitors to a single site which is easier for us to manage.  Now a days, over 50% of our users are accessing our site via a mobile device such as smartphones, tablets and laptops.

Our plan is to create a simpler, cleaner, faster and more secure fully responsive website with consistent user-experience while keeping accessibility in mind.

We also hope to attract more visitors to the BFC website by creating an easier to use website and using simpler language which will be more understandable to everyone in the community.

Another task in my new job is to create a global experience language (GEL) in order to drive consistency and coherence across the diverse, cross-platform portfolio of Bracknell Forest Council’s services, and a design style guide and pattern library that will bring consistency to our digital output.

One of our key objectives is to enhance the user experience of the BFC website as it is brought inline with the GEL. Through the use of a GEL we want to make the BFC website experience clear, simple and fast, and a place where individual services become recognizable, easy to use and consistent, and help the user understand our services.

Another task in my new role is to create part of the BFC website in Easy Read format. Our main target audience will be people with learning difficulties and disabilities, but at the same time our Easy Read content will aim to be beneficial to other audiences such as people with English as a second language.

Along side my other responsibilities, my fellow team members and I am participating in workshops we are hosting with service teams in order to familiarize ourselves with their operations and customers, and to listen to their ideas for a new website.
Based on the information I get from the workshops, I am creating wireframes for each section of the website. It’s very important to get these wireframes right because later they will be the source to create the alpha version of our website and enable us to test the website’s usability before we create the final layout and pages in-house.

One thought on “My design journey at Bracknell Forest

  1. Usability is the key for online success. Understanding how the audience use and interact with an online application is vital.
    Keep up the great work.

    Liked by 1 person

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