Unlike voluntary conversions, sponsored conversions have traditionally required two separate templates to be created:

  • a 'project template' - containing information about the school that's about to convert, and
  • a 'sponsor' template - containing information about the sponsor (the trust that will take on the new academy)

They also include data from other sources, just like voluntary conversions.

Square pegs

Previously, project templates were created in MS Word and then emailed directly to the advisory board. It didn't matter how they were arranged or how many pages they contained.

Navigation was never a consideration because there was none. Neither was there any requirement to consider accessibility.

Now that we use a web page to populate them, this has caused us some headaches:

  • any task list that captures the data for both templates using the current layout would be huge
  • parts of both templates share the same name, leading to accessibility issues
  • section names don't describe what they contain and having two templates doubles the problem

Task list - merged.png

What we did

The main task list, and the central structure of the product had been aligned too closly with the old templates. The content needed to be reworked in order to better suit a modern, web based service.

We started by looking into whether or not there needed to be two templates, or if everything could be output onto a single document.

Our SME confirmed what we expected:

  • the information contained on the templates is the important thing
  • the advisory board just need to be able to understand it easily

This was really helpful as it meant that we were free to diverge from the existing layout.

Next we looked at areas of duplication across the two templates. Were we asking for anything more than once? Are there any areas that could be grouped together?

Content sort.png

I pulled the existing content onto a spreadsheet in order to see the navigation and flow more clearly. Working this way helped me to spot inefficiencies and come up with an arrangement that:

  • used less space
  • didn't rely on a user knowing where things were hidden

Based on our SME's advice we also:

  • combined the output into a single document
  • avoided use of the term 'template' as what gets output isn't really a template anymore

Task list - new.png

Now what?

So far the response has been positive, but we need to dig a bit deeper with real users before we attempt to push our designs to the live product:

  • We have a half day, in-person research session arranged for later this week.
  • We expect to feed any research findings back into the design process and test again before commiting changes.

For consitency we also want to look at retrofitting the improved designs into the existing voluntary conversions process.

Update - 22 September 2023:

It has been decided that trust templates will continue to be created outside of KIM, but separate from the Prepare conversions and transfers product.

At the time of writing nothing more has been agreed. The new task list and content grouping will continue to be used.