Jewish Care Interact

“A website that provides a fantastic user experience for all, and is beautiful, usable and accessible”

Sandi Wassmer, Jewish Care

Jewish Care Interact

Great accessibility to deliver great usability.

The challenge

To build a truly accessible website, that engages older and disabled people – and which they find easy to use.

What we did

We were delighted to have an opportunity to develop the Jewish Care Interact (JCi) website, in no small part as it gave us an opportunity to work with Sandi Wassmer, our client there and a globally renowned expert on accessibility. And the site – aimed specifically at older and disabled (Jewish) people – has given us an opportunity to deliver to the highest accessibility standards.

How it turned out

Accessibility designed-in from the start

The best way to ensure a site will be good to use, is to test and iterate it with real users. For the JCi site that meant taking some pretty unusual steps to ensure that our user research and design process was in itself inclusive to all of our target users. Here’s how we involved older and disabled people in our user-centred site design process, to ensure that the JCi site is easy to use for everyone:

  • Having in-person card sorting sessions with carers supporting a range of users with disability
  • Creating an HTML prototype very early on, using web standards to ensure this could be accessed and user tested with a range of assistive technologies (AT)
  • Conducting observational formative testing sessions with disabled users and their chosen AT systems, to see how the accessibility features not only work, but how user friendly they are
  • Inclusion (with appropriate consideration and support) of users with cognitive and learning disabilities to help us simplify the interaction design. In our view, this has benefited all users in delivering a really simple UI even for complex areas of functionality such as the forum and the four care directories.

User testing with this wide range of users led to some interesting changes of tack. For instance we found that any attempt to overly abbreviate the main site sections made them confusing to navigate for some users. So we designed around that, adopting very long section names but with a more prominent initial word or two for easy reference e.g. ‘CARE WHERE you’re living or staying’. This eventual solution user tested extremely well, across the user base.

Developing with accessibility built-in

We then designed and coded the JCi site using the best web coding standards, delivering well beyond the WCAG specification in numerous ways. This often meant intercepting and improving on the code output by the CMS (in this case Drupal).

There are too many JCi accessibility features to list out (and some are very technical) but here are examples of what we delivered:

  • Enhanced page elements with WAI-ARIA attributes to provide key information to assistive devices
  • Added ‘skip to’ links where helpful for usability and in the context of the view port (e.g. some added for mobile views only)
  • Explicit support for selected assistive technologies, for example the gesture-based VoiceOver on IOS and OSX (many allegedly “accessible” menus we’ve come across don’t in practice support these technologies, even though they are the mainstay of web access for many visually impaired users)
  • Menus enhanced to be four-way keyboard navigable, i.e. with direction keys as well as (two-way) tab focus
  • Accessible editorial, for instance with correctly ordered headings
  • Form error messages – which appear directly before their relevant fields, as well an overarching error message at the top of the form. (The idea is that focus goes to this top error enabling AT users to re-navigate the form and correct the specific errors in situ).
  • Excellent contrast ratios meeting or exceeding AAA, and to highlight key state changes (such as mouse-over and selected).

We worked with the team at Binary Vision on Jewish Care Interact from project scoping through to final delivery, across UX design, content strategy, UI design, IA, visual design and CMS development.

As our website’s audience spans a diverse range of older and disabled people, it was vital that it be built in line with inclusive design principles, as well as guidelines and best practices for usability and accessibility.

This has resulted in a website that provides a fantastic user experience for all, and is beautiful, usable and accessible. Easy to say, but not at all easy to do.

The Binary Vision team are talented, highly skilled, passionate and creative, and this is evident in everything that they do. We are thrilled with the website and cannot thank Binary Vision enough for all of their hard work and dedication in helping us create such a fantastic and essential service.”

Sandi Wassmer, Jewish Care

MRC’s Interactive Career Framework

“The team met all our requirements to the timescale required, without sacrificing on quality”

Simone Bryan, MRC

MRC’s Interactive Career Framework

Bold interaction design with a focus on real people.

The challenge

How to make something as diverse and complex as biomedical research careers really easy to understand, so researchers can make informed career choices?

What we did

Following an ‘agile’ (Lean) UX process of information and interaction design, we worked hand-in-glove with MRC’s Skills and Careers team to visualise, user test and then iteratively develop an Interactive Career Framework. And we brought it to life with real-life case studies, of researchers showing how their own careers developed.

Please also see our case study on the MRC website revamp.

How it turned out

The ICF performed well in our post-launch site survey (for instance, for ‘overall user experience’, 87.3% of users gave it 3 – 5 stars out of 5, with 17.5% giving the maximum of 5 out of 5. n=126).

And its launch had a big impact on the MRC’s twitter profile – spot the launch date:

Twitter pic for ICF 1 - y axis data removed

Building bridges across UK research

Having launched the career framework, we worked with these eight UK research funders to incorporate all of their funding schemes into a new ‘funding view’:

In the process, led by MRC, we created a common language and frame-of-reference for UK research funding, all for the very first time.

It was an object lesson in bringing stakeholders together, forging agreement by sharing with them the findings from our user research.

“We’ve received lots of feedback from users via Twitter about how useful the map is. This was a very complex piece of work and the team met all our requirements to the timescale required, without sacrificing on quality.”

Simone Bryan, MRC

Barnardo’s Centre of expertise on CSA

“Their strength is in really seeking to understand what we are trying to achieve and doing what they can to contribute. They feel very much part of our team”

Cassi Harrison (Barnardo’s / CSA Centre)

Barnardo’s Centre of expertise on CSA

Helping an important new Centre of expertise on Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) come into being, creating a model for future Centres of expertise.

The challenge

Who are the principal users for this new Centre of expertise? And what do they need most? Vital questions for us to answer in developing their website. Also of great value for the new Centre as it geared up and came into being.

In the beginning

This brand new ‘Centre of expertise’ was created by Barnardo’s with Home Office funding.

The organisation existed only in name when we partnered with Lagom Strategy to help the Centre realise their vision.

The goal was to create a website to engage with their core users; CSA professionals across multiple sectors (policy makers, schools, hospitals, police, etc).

But for this new style of Centre it wasn’t clear who the principal users would be, or what were their most pressing needs.

What we did

Researching the Centre

At a kick-off meeting with Centre staff we worked out who we thought our key users would be – and what their needs were. We then interviewed more than two dozen potential users by phone, to get a better understanding of what the Centre could do for them – and what others were already offering.

These interviews were supported by a user needs workshop. Four small groups of users and Centre staff worked to create typical user personas and look at their needs.

And to validate the list of user needs and quantify which ones to prioritise an online survey was created. The Centre promoted this to all their contacts and we got 341 detailed responses – a terrific result, and testament to the interest in the Centre’s work.

Next, user needs were mapped by importance, and broken down by role. And based on these results we prototyped simple versions of the website – as Bruce Hannah said: “Mock it up before you fock it up.” – and we then research tested them with users.

We already knew that the Centre’s research – the key website content – would be the star and that technology should play a best-supporting role. What else did we learn?

Key users were not who we all thought, and their needs also differed to what we envisaged. In response we prototyped new ways to present the Centre’s work and revisited everything from how references are cited to how charts and figures are presented, working with the Centre as one agile team. We also helped create an online Directory of services, in response to user demand.

Up and online in two weeks

Also at the outset, we created an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) website in two weeks, to lay the ground for the emergent Alpha and Beta sites, and to respond to the hunger for information.

The outcome

The ‘Live Beta’ website is regarded as a model for future Centres of expertise:

“The team at Binary Vision has enabled us to take a more coordinated and strategic approach. Alongside delivering the technical side of things they have helped us to embed greater consistency of approach e.g. through working with us on style and brand, content structure and building standards into our procurement process.”

“Their strength is in really seeking to understand what we are trying to achieve and doing what they can to contribute. They feel very much part of our team, as opposed to a traditional commissioner/provider relationship and consistently go above and beyond, for example by feeding us interesting, thought-provoking and practical ideas.”

Cassi Harrison, Director, Centre of expertise in CSA (Barnardo’s)