Creating user accounts

Department for Education (DfE) and local authority (LA) admins can now access ‘Manage’. One of the actions they can take is creating user accounts.

The title of the page is the user's name. There are links to create accounts and manage accounts.

DfE admins can create any type of account. They’re asked a series of questions to gather key information about who the account is for, which could be either a:

  • Department for Education administrator
  • local authority administrator
  • voluntary and community sector organisation administrator
  • professional working with a family

Once they’ve created the account, the user gets a Notify message telling them how to activate their account and create a password.

Voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisation admins cannot create accounts. They’ll need to speak to their administrator if they need a new account created.

Managing user accounts

Admins can also manage user accounts they’ve created. From this page, users can either view information about each account, or delete the account. They can also filter accounts by account type.

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We’ve used hint text to warn admins that deleting an account means the user can no longer use their account. We can iterate this to make it clearer once tested if needed.

Adding and managing LA services and family hubs

DfE and LA admins can also now add or manage services and family hubs offered by local authorities.

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We’re introducing this functionality so that admins can add details to the ‘Find’ service. The LA services and hubs they add will not show in the ‘Connect’ service.

The journey for adding an LA service is identical to the existing journey we have for adding VCS services except for a question at the start that asks DfE admins which LA the service is in.

Adding a family hub is slightly different. Users cannot choose categories of support offered, and we don’t give them a choice of how families can access the service. This is because family hubs are mostly physical locations. Users are asked to enter an address for each family hub they add.

We’ve changed content in the bullets on the ‘more details’ page too. We did this because there are additional things families need to know about family hubs that are different from LA and VCS services. We worked with our user researchers to establish what information is important to families when working out whether a family hub is suitable for them:

  • if it only opens during certain time periods
  • if there is car parking available
  • how accessible the building is

Adding ‘Activate an LA’ functionality and removing ‘Add LA’

An earlier interaction of ‘Manage’ included a way for DfE admins to add new local authorities to the directories. This may happen when a new local authority signs up to use our services.

A technical constraint meant that we could not use this functionality. Our solution was to add all local authorities in England to our services but keep them hidden until ‘activated’ by a DfE admin.

The activation journey is short and very simple. Once the DfE admin activates the LA, the LA can log in to create user accounts and also add local authority services and family hubs.

Letting services and family hubs add their opening times

We had evidence to suggest users needed to see opening hours for family hubs, LA and VCS services. We explored multiple options for how to record opening hours in the service based on the test data provided by local authorities. This was difficult because the data is very inconsistent between services.

We decided to use a structured format to bring this data in. This means that users search and filter in future. We supported this with free text in the more details box to help services with more nuanced opening hours.

Considerations for future research:

  • Are we collecting nuanced information in an effective way? For example, ‘open in term time’
  • Are ‘opening hours’ supportive of how online services classify themselves?
  • Does this design lend itself to services that are available 24/7, do such services exist?

Problem solving and designing

From early test data, we can see that some services have different opening hours on different days, for example Friday opening hours differing from the rest of the week. We can also see that often services may have more than one set of opening hours for a day. For example, closed over lunch which can appear as open 9am - 12pm, and 1pm to 5pm.

First version of the opening times journey

Our first version of the design asked the user to select days they’re open and then enter times for the day individually. This becomes problematic for the services that have consistent opening hours over the days they’re open, as they have to enter multiple times, however it works for services that have inconsistent opening hours.

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Second version of the opening times journey

We then decided to split this journey out over more pages, to decrease the cognitive load and reduce the burden for services that have consistent opening hours.

The user first selects the opening days for the service, then selects whether there’s a consistent set of hours for the days they’ve selected.

If yes, then they enter the times once.

If no, they revert to entering times for each day, like in our first design.

Image described in design history post

Image described in design history post

Image described in design history post