Discover how we audited, researched and refined the user journeys and overall user experience for Wales’ free business advice service. Our collaboration with Business Wales unlocked a more engaging, streamlined user experience to provide valuable support to Welsh business owners of all sizes to grow their business.
It’s near impossible to be in business in Wales without knowing about, or interacting with, the business advice service designed to boost the Welsh economy.
For over 10 years Business Wales has been playing a vital role in assisting people to start, run and grow their businesses. This free, government-funded organisation was established to help all sizes of business, regardless of the age and stage they’re at.
Business owners and operators encounter all different kinds of challenges on a daily basis. Business Wales provides a friendly space to get advice and support with HR, planning, finance, environment and many other blockers and unlockers that can help make Welsh businesses successful.
Our engagement began with a shared passion to help businesses across Wales more easily discover and access services available to them through the Business Wales website. This ambition was driven by the Welsh Government’s Skills Higher Education and Lifelong Learning (SHELL) department, which strives to make skills and training more readily available to Welsh business owners and their employees.
Given our strong track record and expertise in areas like user research, UX evaluations, and user experience design, the Illustrate Digital team was a natural choice to be selected to conduct the evaluation, and collaborate to plan out the solutions to deliver this.
With a growing reputation in this field, we are seeing many of our partnerships start this way. Helping organisations properly understand the blockers and opportunities for users, and crafting ways to better meet the needs of users is at the heart of everything we do at Illustrate Digital. It reaps a huge return on investment, and forges the road for long-lasting optimisation and greater user satisfaction.
We believe the best place to start when evaluating a user experience is with the people closest to the platform. Our job at Illustrate Digital is to ask the important questions that help draw out useful initial insights into the challenges faced by their users.
Firstly, we needed to understand the short and long term ambitions of Business Wales, talking to their key stakeholders in various departments, which also included IT from a technical perspective. This is all about learning what success looks like for the organisation, and making sure we succeed in our mission to improve the user experience of the Business Wales website.
Alongside this, we also needed to dig into the minds of users, to understand the needs of the people and audiences within Business Wales’ target audience. This is crucial, as it makes sure the organisation’s understanding is either validated or challenged by their audience. This part of the process can be challenging at times, but one that we embrace wholeheartedly, and ultimately gives us a true perspective.
After gaining an understanding of the expectations and viewpoints of both Business Wales internally and its users, we were then able to examine the website in more detail.
To do this, we put our UX team and our bespoke evaluation tools to work. Our tried, tested and thorough approach includes:
Thanks to the expertise of our experienced UX researcher department, we gleaned a wealth of insights from these processes. These served as a solid foundation to provide robust recommendations aimed at significantly enhancing the user experience and streamlining user flow through the Business Wales website.
Armed with a comprehensive analysis of our findings from the evaluation process and with our suggestions discussed and prioritised, we were prepared to help the team transition into the implementation phase, where practical changes would be crafted, ready for deployment by the Business Wales team.
A user flow diagram was produced to illustrate the most ideal user interactions with the website’s helpful content, alongside suggested ways to align these changes to improve existing web pages and overall structure.
Following this, a website architecture diagram was produced to outline the ideal structure of the skills-based content in more detail, and how this relates to the wider digital experience. Our key recommendation here was to reframe the skills content as a lead part of the Business Wales offering, rather than a secondary, supplemental feature as per the previous information architecture and UI.
Finally, we created prototypes including a fresh new layout, a new consistent user interface and revised user journeys that would seamlessly link the homepage through to the rest of the Business Wales website. This well-considered direction was underpinned by our meticulous research and sets the stage for future success.
At Illustrate Digital, our relationship with clients, including Business Wales, extends far beyond the completion of individual projects. We believe in fostering long-term partnerships that are built on continual collaboration and optimisation.
As well as being on hand to support the Welsh Government’s IT team to develop and implement the changes to the website (which are now live), we also put together a set of ongoing recommendations to continually evaluate and improve the experience for visitors to the Business Wales site.
To equip both the Business Wales and SHELL teams for success, , we’ve outlined a programme of periodic health checks that users will continue to benefit from, along with input into the best methods to analyse traffic and website performance in the long term. Additionally, a technical website maintenance plan was produced to provide easily actionable ways to help manage new pages in an efficient and coherent way to encourage ongoing engagement.
To check out our work in the real world, and the benefits to business in Wales, check out the website here: https://businesswales.gov.wales/
Jonny Allbut, Head of Experience
“Collaborating with Business Wales stands as a significant milestone for Illustrate Digital, as we bring our UX design acumen to elevate the online experience for Welsh business owners; a subject that’s close to our hearts. This partnership not only serves as a testament to the transformative power of user-centric strategies, but also fills us with a deep sense of fulfilment. We’re honoured to contribute to the digital advancement of the business community in Wales.”