Beta begins

After a bit of an (admin / bureaucracy) hiatus since passing alpha assessment, the beta to replace has started. Here are some notes from the first sprint.

Personas, by mindset

User research has been a constant throughout discovery and alpha, but organising it in a meaningful way seemed to be a constant blocker. For example, a business will alway need finance, but the precise needs will vary because of their experience, outlook and so on, so segmenting by size or age of business for example, isn’t useful.

I’m chuffed Stuart Church has joined the team (was always impressed with his work with my old colleagues at ONS which still seems to be used) to get more structure and rigour to all the research we’ve got.

The thinking at the moment is segmenting users by mindset:

  • Power player: users which know where they’re going and what they need, but need a bit of consultative help in order to grow their business
  • Ambitious: know where they need to get to but need a little more help in getting there
  • Conservative: happy with their lot and a little resistant to anything too risky

We’ve got a survey live at the moment to see if it’s sensible to structure them this way, or another. More to come around nailing the personas and design functionality and content to meet their needs.

Slicker sign up

We’ve iterated the design of the sign up form because users seemed to vocalise very mild frustration. This might well move us away from one thing per page, but we’ll see. We’ll use the Companies House look up a bit more to bring in the registered address for the business. If the user is based there, that’s one less thing for them to fill in. If not, the standard postcode finder / enter manually option will be there.

Analytics and SEO shizzle

As well as Stuart, it’s great to have Duncan Bloor (ex BBC) on the team. He’s got stuck into keyword research (to help inform content design) and also scheming with the devs to make sure what we’re building is as SEO friendly as we can get it.

Internal linking is an obvious thing we should do, but to make it work automatically, intelligently and correctly is a thing we’ll tackle in sprint 2. Spiking elastic search in sprint 1 concluded that term/phrase suggester or MLT Query could well be the answer.

Speaking of spikes

We also had a look into using a

  • 6ish figure code to type in, rather than clickable link – the latter posed problems with users with visual impairment who use a laptop for internet and phone for email (the magiclink to log in only works if you use one device)
  • Passphrase as an alternative method of logging in

The thing with both of these appraoches is to remove the need of using a password. Something I keep fighting for given ux testing supports is.