Amaze’s website development – how your feedback has shaped our plans so far

In March, we asked you to complete a short survey about how you use the Amaze website and how you value it, as part of our plan to redevelop the site during 2023 and create a separate site just for young people with SEND. We had a great response to the survey (probably due to offering a prize of free Drusillas tickets!) and were pleased to get 77 complete responses within the deadline. The survey was complemented by some more intensive user-testing with a handful of parent carers over Zoom.

Your survey responses

  • Of the 77 people who responded, 87% said they use the website, and only 13% don’t. The reasons for not using the website were that parents didn’t know about it, preferred to speak to an adviser or were too busy.
  • Over 86% use mobile to look at the site. Only 25% desktop, 11% iPad
  • Parents told us they found they found the site easy to use and they liked the ‘Colourful and friendly’ design, the ‘approachable’ language and that it’s not too busy
  • Some of you didn’t like the white background
  • You told us that you sometimes struggled to find what you were looking for
  • Some of you wanted more content on specific issues or conditions such as PMLD or early years or more images of Amaze community or groups
  • Some of you said that the site was too ‘text heavy’ or sometimes had ‘an overwhelming amount of text’.
  • Some of you said it was hard to find details about our events

“It’s clear and easy to navigate, and really does contain a goldmine of helpful information.”

“Make it easier to search for events (and other information)”

“I think it would be great if it lists options at the beginning of page , rather than swiping to get to your option…tricky when your on a mobile and people don’t have the time. They just want to click and go!”

“More pictures of the community and the amaze stuff! I love seeing them!!”

[box title=”What your survey responses told us” box_color=”#4dac40″ title_color=”#f6f3f0″]
  • The site design must work for mobile first
  • It’s pretty good already – users think the site is useable and mostly like the look and feel and layout. Don’t need drastic change.
  • We need to improve the menus, search and navigation tools
  • We need to edit and condense advice text and break it down further into sections with headings that are easy to scan. We should reduce the amount of text wherever possible.
  • We should consider adjusting the colour scheme
  • We should check we have enough content for families with children with profound and multiple learning disabilities and those who are recently diagnosed.
  • We should try and include more pictures of Amaze groups
  • We need to make Amaze workshops, courses and groups information easier to find[/box]

Click here if you would like to read the full Parent Carer Website Dev Survey Report- March 2023

User testing

In addition to the survey, we also recruited a small group of parent carers who agreed to be observed while carrying out key tasks on the website. These four parents had children aged from 6-25, with a range of conditions and were from across the Brighton & Hove and East Sussex.

Our Communications Manager, Charlotte, watched as they carried out key tasks, such as finding information about EHCPs or booking onto a workshop or understanding whether Amaze could help them, and noted the ease or difficulty they had with these tasks.

The user testing findings

All the user testers struggled to find items in the blog/features section of the site, and some failed to find key bits of information via our search box due to getting poor search results from very common terms. Very old content often appeared before more important advice text in the search results.

Half of the user testers said they didn’t identify with the phrase ‘parent carers’ and would think it wasn’t talking about them.

[box title=”What user testing told us” box_color=”#4dac40″ title_color=”#f6f3f0″]
  • We need a more sophisticated and effective search tool
  • We need to remove lots of old content
  • We should consider our widespread use of the term ‘parent carer’ and either make sure it’s not the only term we use, or explain clearly and prominently what we mean by parent carer
  • We need to diversify some of the ways we talk about SEND to make sure parents are finding the right page from a wider range of search terms (eg, EHCPs as well as EHC plans, teens and teenagers not just young people, school refusal as well as school avoidance). Sometimes these phrases may not be in line with our style guide, but we should make exceptions for the sake of usability.
  • Our advice content in the blog section needs to be moved to somewhere more obvious or linked to more effectively.[/box]

Next steps

All this feedback was collated, together with staff and organisational requirements, into a full brief that is now with our website designers, MooCow Media who are working on providing initial designs for us as we speak.

We’ll be asking for your views again once the first draft of the site is soft launched in the autumn and we’ll be asking for more of you to get involved in user testing at this stage too. If you would like to be one of our user testers, email [email protected]

***If you are more interested in the new young people’s website, watch this space. We are already in engaging with young people via a survey and via our Amazing Futures project to find out what they would like on a website. We’ll share more details soon.

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