Meeting User Needs
TfGM knew their existing website did not meet user needs. To address this problem, they chose to follow the Government Digital services (GDS) framework, which has revolutionised digital service delivery in central government.
With an exceptional pedigree of delivering successful GDS projects, and with a strong vision to deliver a service “made in Manchester, for Manchester”, Valtech was selected as TfGM’s digital partner to deliver the new beta.tfgm.com digital service.
The Delivery Approach
Our delivery approach focused on user needs from the outset, with continuous user research at the heart of the delivery cadence. In the initial 4-week Discovery, the co-sourced, co-located TfGM-Valtech delivery team gathered insights from over 1,200 people. Among other techniques, we undertook “guerilla” testing on the streets of Greater Manchester, hosted focus groups and interviews, and conducted quantitative surveys on the TfGM’s free public Wi-Fi.
The team prototyped ideas, testing them with real users, and would only invest in developing features that had been proven to meet user needs. This was an important decision, as many organisations waste money building features that are never used by customers.
A key objective was to make the service highly accessible, so developing and testing for accessibility needs was built in from the outset. The team also worked closely with the Disability Design Reference Group throughout the project to conduct testing with people with real-world accessibility needs.
Enablement of TfGM staff was a significant project driver as they were not experienced in Agile delivery methods, or some of the key programming languages selected. We took a co-located, co-sourced approach to delivering the project from the outset. As a result, we were able to make the best use of existing specialist resources and knowledge at TfGM. This also meant that by the time the service went into Public beta, the Valtech team could safely roll off the project. Not only did we enable TfGM to put the project live, we also supported TfGM to more efficiently deliver future digital projects.
The project saved significant costs by utilising TfGMs existing legacy services for status updates and ticket information and was able to re-use existing real-time data feeds for trams, trains and buses.
From a technical perspective the following approaches also produced cost-saving efficiencies:
- A resilient cloud solution has significantly reduced service downtime
- A micro-service approach has maximised reuse and maintainability
The result is an accessible, responsive, mobile-first digital experience, which has been built in collaboration with the people of, and visitors to, Greater Manchester. Thus, Valtech honoured our promise to deliver a service “made in Manchester, for Manchester”.