The old style navigation

Testing had showed that finding the ‘trust overview’ page was an issue for some users, but we also found examples of others not knowing:

  • where to go next
  • which page they are looking at
  • how to get to a particular page or section

Other product teams have approached navigation differently for their services, and we think that by aligning more closely with them we might be able to address some of our users' problems.

Top navigation

Some of the comments we’d received from users were about them not being able to easily find their way to the ‘trust overview’ page.

To get there, a user needs return to ‘Your active cases’ from whichever page they’re currently on and then click on the ‘Find a trust’ button.

The name of this page doesn’t suggest that a user can get to trust details from there. Neither does any of the navigation leading to that page.

Another comment we received was that it was inconvenient to have to go back into a different overview screen to reach this information.

The Academisation team had incorporated a header-based ‘top navigation’ into their designs, and we felt that this arrangement might help address some of the issues our users were having.

We now have top navigation buttons for:

  • Your cases – for users to see their cases or create a new one
  • Other cases – to see cases owned by other people
  • Find a trust - to find details of trusts and the cases against them

The new navigation up close

These are visible from anywhere within the product, meaning a user won’t need to find another screen before they can click through to them.

Secondary navigation

A second row of navigation becomes visible if a user chooses Your cases. Under this section, users can choose:

  • Create or view a case
  • Closed cases

Users must choose ‘Create or view a case’ to see cases they currently have open. From here they can also create a case. We decided to keep these two options together so that the user could check to see if they already had already created the case they were about to start.

‘Closed cases’ shows cases that were owned by the user but are now closed.

The ‘Create or view a case’ page

Create or view a case - new navigation

This page contains 4 elements:

  • H1/title
  • CTA button
  • Table caption
  • Table

The main purpose of the page is case creation, so the title has been updated to reflect this, with the button placed directly below it.

The table shows cases the user currently has open and has caption text to describe its purpose. This is always visible and can be read aloud by text-to-speech software.

Closed cases

The closed cases page shows cases owned by the user that are no longer open.

The navigation and H1 previously read “Your closed cases”.

We changed this because:

  • it wasn’t possible to use a possessive pronoun in the title or nav for the case creation page, so using it here would be inconsistent
  • the page now sits under ‘Your cases’ in the top navigation, meaning we’ve already said that everything here belongs to the user

‘Other cases’ and ‘Find a trust’

The other top-level navigation options allow the user to see cases created by other people, and to search for information about trusts respectively.

Neither of these have any secondary navigation. Instead they take users directly to existing pages:

  • Other cases goes to ‘Cases owned by others’.
  • Find a trust goes to the ‘Find a trust or technology college’ search page.

How this work helps us meet the service standard

These changes will hopefully help with two points:

  • Make the service simple to use (service standard point 4)
  • Make sure everyone can use the service (service standard point 5)

The main purpose of the work was to improve navigation and clarity. This will hopefully make it simpler for all users find their way around the product.

Some case or concern creation fields ask for information that’s available under ‘Find a trust’. Moving this into the top navigation means that users always have access to it.

We also spotted that there was no obvious route to creating a case from anywhere but the page the user starts on. None of the navigation pointed to it, and the title of the page didn’t mention it either.

This could be frustrating for many users, but doubly so for people using screen reading software. The H1 for a page should really give them an idea of whether it’s worth continuing on a page, as it can be more difficult for these users to skim-read way others do.

To further help these users, we’ve also set up meaningful captions that describe the contents of each of the tables we present them with.

These are visible to non-users of adaptive technology too.

Assumptions and things we need to test

We haven’t yet been able to fully explain the route to case creation from the top level navigation. Some options might require a bigger rework:

  • At the moment we’re relying slightly on process of elimination to get the user to the ‘create or view a case’ page, which is less than ideal. If testing shows that this is causing problems we may need to make time for a more involved redesign.

  • Although we’ve tried to address some of the inconvenience associated with getting to the ‘trust overview’ page, a user still has to break off from what they’re doing in order to get the information they want. A better solution might be to automatically pull in the information that the question asks for. This would be a bigger piece of work and we should see whether the changes we’ve made here are enough before we think about taking it on.