Stockport Council – My Account

A citizen account allowing people to keep an eye on personalised Council information, such as Council Tax, benefits and bin collections.

My role

I led the design of the project and collaborated with two other designers on different elements of the directory

In addition, I worked alongside business analysts and technical leads to ensure a unified product was meeting expectations from all perspectives.

The problem

Creating an account felt like a rocketship, at a point where we were still focussing on getting a skateboard up and running.

The problem ultimately came from trying to understand how to create something truly valuable for users who have shown little to no desire to create accounts in the past.

This wide array of users, with a significant variety of needs, meant that this was a challenging problem that also had the potential to improve the health and wellbeing of the people of Stockport.

Finding a direction

The initial understanding was that users wanted to be able to access local personalised information.

Based on early user research, the likes of Council Tax, benefits, local amenities and planning applications were the early foundations upon which My Account was designed.

It became clear that a change of direction was required when testing my early prototypes with users showed that there was a far more useful purpose for a citizen account – being able to keep track of interactions with the council.

Based on the feedback I received during conversations with citizens of Stockport, far too many of their interactions with the council online felt as though they were falling into a black hole.

Due to austerity, council services are taking longer to process citizen requests and applications. This has significant implications on users, who receive little to no feedback on how their interaction with the council is going.

This huge pain point, and source of phone calls to the contact centre, quickly became a focal point for the future design and user experience of My Account.

Open conversations

The design of My Account is all about trying to create conversations with citizens. We want people to know that what they have told us is being worked on and we will let them know when there has been some progress.

Opening up internal processes and making them visible to citizens in a friendly, understandable way means that it is clear that their reports and applications have not simply fallen into a black hole of emptiness.

Viewing street light and blocked grid reports, Council Tax and benefits information and waste collection information proved to be high volume services that could offer the most value to citizens.

Future visioning

The aim for My Account is to create a platform that can encompass all council services.

I want to allow people to view if their children got into the school they applied for. I want to let people renew their library books. I want to allow people to keep an eye on planning applications that they’re interested in.

The council offers a huge array of services and I want to ensure that My Account can scale easily to accommodate all of them.

The numbers

Figures correct as of August 2017.

Number of users

Number of tracked street lights and blocked grid reports

Accounts linked to Council Tax, benefits and waste information