In May 2016 I joined a small service design team from WAE, tasked with redeveloping the website for the London Metropolitan Police Service (the Met). The new site would serve as a digital front-counter for a range of brand new online services – improving transparency and collaboration between the police and the people of London.

I was responsible for copy across the site, from the dozens of redeveloped content pages to the many new online tools and processes (see below). The first complete iteration of the website went live in March 2017, with the new homepage dominated by five simple action buttons and a search tool.

VISIT SITE

Below: The old Met website

NEW FEATURES

GENERAL CONTENT PAGES

Our first step was to establish a clearer, friendlier tone of voice that would make the whole site more accessible to the general public. We then stripped out all extraneous visual clutter to make sure the content was the focus.

Templates agreed, we then set about liaising with subject matter experts across the Met to find the best and most sensitive way of communicating their particular field. The list was long.

TRIAGES

The new triage tool allowed us to break down often very complicated subjects and processes into simple questions and answers. This format helps users navigate quickly to the information they need.

Through user testing and analytics we found people were also using the triage tool to self-educate.

 

FORMS

Who doesn’t love a form? Almost everybody, it turns out. Which is why we ran workshops with dozens of teams across the Met who regularly use paper forms as part of their service, to find simpler approaches, improve efficiency and reduce operating costs.

Though still far from perfect, the huge range of new online forms are already improving processing time, reducing errors (on both sides) and providing users with a more transparent service.

In particular, the ‘Report a crime’ triage and form together represent one of the most sophisticated online crime reporting tools in the world.

OTHER NEW FEATURES

YOUR AREA

I was heavily involved in all of the features above, but they aren’t nearly as exciting as the other new tools our team created.

Your area, for example, is a section of the website where users can find up-to-date, interactive crime stats on their ‘ward’ (the area covered by their local police team), including the top three crimes and tailored advice on how to stay safe.

CAREERS

The Careers section of the site gave us a chance to use a fresh new wave of post-beta CMS components, including pagination. It doesn’t sound very exciting, but it allows the user to navigate large amounts of information quickly.

It’s early days, but eventually prospective Met employees and volunteers should be able to learn all about the roles available and apply for a role directly through the website.

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