David Baird joined ‘Kainos’ in August 2000 as an up and coming visual designer. Having mostly worked in the financial and health sectors in the early part of his Kainos career, David has spent the last few years working in the public sector with Government Digital Services (GDS) as a user experience designer. This has given him a great insight into the vision that government has for its departments and agencies. So we’ve asked David to tell us what he is doing as part of the MOT modernisation project.
Firstly, who are Kainos?
Kainos is a software company that has been delivering digital technology solutions to global business for more than 26 years. We currently employ over 500 people across our offices in the UK, Ireland and Poland and work primarily in the Public, Healthcare and Financial Services sectors.
You are focusing a lot on understanding the ‘user experience’. What is ‘user experience’?
In simple terms, user experience (UX) is defined by how a person interacts with a product or system, in our case it is the MOT system.
My role as a UX designer is to understand the types of users the system will have, so I’ll be looking at the user demographics, the environment they work in, what their IT skills are and what devices they might use. I’ll use this information to make design decisions to help produce a system that matches the needs of the users, and is easy to understand and simple to use.
What work have you done so far?
The team has already been out visiting garages in and around VOSA’s offices in Bristol allowing us to observe testers using the existing system in their natural environment. This gave us first hand experience of how and when the system is used during an MOT test. We also got to see the different types of IT set ups that garages have and how this could affect the use of the system. These visits have given us the opportunity to speak directly to testers and gain valuable insight into what they think about the current system and what the new system could do to make the job of a Tester easier.
We also had the opportunity to meet with testers coming to the VOSA training centre in Avonmouth. One group of testers helped us with a card sorting exercise to enable us to define the structure of the reasons for rejections. They also got a chance to look at the new system as we were designing it, which allowed us to gather feedback on what we were doing and what else they would like to see included in the system.
Based on the conversations we’ve had with users, the last 8 weeks have been spent developing the building blocks of a system that demonstrates how the end-to-end process of capturing MOT test details might work. One common complaint was around the difficulty in finding appropriate ‘reasons for rejections’, so our main focus has been around improving the usability of the search functionality.
What is next?
It’s all about continuous improvement, so we want to meet with more testers to get opinions on what we’ve done to date. The VTS Trade Council meetings in October are an ideal chance to try out the system with real users.
While we know there is still a long way to go, we think it is the right time to show the system to a wider audience, allow users to interact with it and give feedback. It is vital that the ‘user needs’ influence the direction of this product – their feedback will be invaluable.
For any questions or feedback about MOT Modernisation, please email us at MOT.Modernisation@vosa.gsi.gov.uk.