The importance of testing
With the benefit of previous user research performed by the ADF, we were able to confidently embark on a series of agile design sprints, building early paper prototypes and testing those prototypes with users.
The value of user testing is not always immediately apparent but, at Liquorice, we believe it it's a sound investment, one that is critical to the success of a project. Our clients understand that engaging users early on through testing ensures that the product or service is designed with those users at the centre. A stitch in time, as the saying goes.
Testing our paper prototypes proved to be a critical step in the process, one which allowed us to pivot quickly after gaining some key insights from user feedback. The initial assumption from user research was that users were worried about facilitating meetings and minute-taking, as well as managing the minutiae of administrative tasks that followed. One of the prototypes we developed to address this concern focused on facilitating internal meetings with Teams.
When we tested this prototype, users were quick to point out a lot of the solutions were already performed by their existing go-to tools (like email, calendar etc). This insight allowed us to reprioritise features early on rather than devoting time and money to building features that were less important to users.
Users responded positively to a step-by-step task flow to help them through the Action Plan creation process as well as features that would help them connect with other Teams across Australia. So we refocused our attention on these key features of the Community Hub. This process taught us that testing is crucial in order to gain further insights on assumptions and solutions based on research.
Nuts and bolts
With the design and content well on the way, it was time to decide how we wanted to build the site.
One of the core tenets of agile methodology is prioritising the most desired functionality built as efficiently as possible over attempting to meet all desired functionality with complex, fully-customised solutions. By choosing to build the site with Wagtail and its underlying Django framework, we were able to supply the ADF with a huge range of flexible, off-the-shelf modules with some choice customisation. This helped us to save time and resources without compromising on the really important stuff.
Because the Wagtail technology is so extensible, we were able to style our modules freely and add customisation like @mentions, auto subscriptions and an email notification system. It also allowed us to "share" users across the forum and marketing site, maintaining simplicity and consistency.