In the past, the Ministry of Education (MOE) of Singapore used to experience high volume of queries in the periods leading up to major admissions exercises or announcements. This included the annual Primary One registration, Direct School Admissions for Secondary Schools and Junior Colleges, Secondary One posting exercise and the Joint Admissions Exercise for O-Level certificate holders. The website was not effective in meeting users' need for relevant information.
"The website does not give me direct answers, which is why I prefer calling the schools." – A usability test participant
User: Self-serve effortlessly and find information they need easily on the MOE website.
Organisation: Reduce simple queries by helping users find the information they needed easily so that the manned channel (e.g. the call centre, email and service centre) can focus on handling more complex enquiries, especially during peak periods.
Start with what users know Users come with contextual information. Use this information as a starting point.
Make users feel confident Educate users on the entire process, not just the task at hand.
Reflect the needs of the moment Reflect and support users' needs through timely content.
Drive towards task resolution Don't make users process more than they have to. Instead, give them answers.
Role and Duration
I was the sole designer working on the preschool, primary, post-secondary, and careers sections with product owner, content strategist and developers helping to plan and facilitate research activities, build prototypes and conduct usability testing to understand how real users interact with the project and synthesise research data to generate into actionable insights. I also redesigned the homepage and created standards, style guides and specifications documents for the design system.
The project was from January to December 2019.
We worked on one section of the website first instead of overhauling the entire website at once. With this lean approach, it helped to inform of how to improve the next section with new learnings.
Using the volume of queries and feedback as a proxy indicator of the website's effectiveness in meeting users' need for relevant information, there was a drop in contact volume ranging from 15% to 30% declines within the first year for the Joint Admissions Exercise, Primary One Registration and MOE Kindergarten Registration.
Beyond the decline in contact volume, we also saw a mindset shift within MOE and this made them recognise the need for a more specialised team (known as the Customer Experience Design (CED) team) to roll out the rest of the changes for the MOE website and to carry on with future enhancements.