34 min

GDS Podcast #34: Collecting information from users Government Digital Service Podcast

    • Government

Our Collecting Information From Users team and a guest from the Home Office share how we’re helping people in government to create accessible, affordable digital forms.
The transcript for the episode follows:
-------------
 
Vanessa Schneider:
Hello and welcome to the Government Digital Service podcast. My name is Vanessa Schneider and I am Senior Channels and Community Manager at GDS.
 
Today, I’m chatting with colleagues about our work supporting teams across government that collect information from users using online forms, paper forms or a combination of the two. We've been partnering with other government organisations to investigate how they're currently collecting this information and what kind of help they might need. Because right now, almost all of the forms on GOV.UK that have been downloaded around 7,000 or so times are PDFs or other document-based forms. Usually they are inaccessible, hard to use, and on average teams spend 8 minutes more on processing the information they collect, compared to online forms. This is bad for users, and also bad for government, as it’s inefficient and misses opportunities for using the data for analysis. Worse, these kinds of forms are growing by approximately 6% every year and we estimate it would take the existing form-building service teams more than 70 years to convert just the existing PDFs into HTML forms.
 
So I’m joined by Harry Voss, Senior Product Manager, and Moyo Kolawole, Senior User Researcher, from GDS, who are part of a team working on a solution that will make it much easier to digitise existing forms, and make it simpler for people in government to create new digital forms - even if they don’t have technical expertise. I’m also joined by Suzanne Mycock from the Family Policy Unit in the Home Office, who has been contributing to the research our team is conducting.
 
To kick us off, Moyo, would you please introduce yourself to our listeners?
 
Moyosore Kolawole:
Sure. Hi I'm Moyo Kolawole. I'm a Senior User Researcher on the Collecting Information from Users team at GDS.
 
Vanessa Schneider:
Great, thank you. Harry how about you, would you please introduce yourself?
 
Harry Vos:
Yeah, sure. Hey, folks, I'm Harry Vos, I'm a Senior Product Manager at Government Digital Service. Um, I've been around for like 4 years or something, err, and, err, yeah I’ve been looking at forms and how people collect information from members of the public and businesses, err, since December. So I've been really lucky to be working with some amazing people across government. Thanks for having me.
 
Vanessa Schneider:
No worries, thank you. And finally, Suzanne, would you like to introduce yourself as well, please?
 
Suzanne Mycock:
Hi there. My name's Suzanne Mycock. And I'm a Guidance and Forms Editor. I work on the Guidance Rules and Forms team, part of the Family Policy Unit within the Home Office. Err, our team manages 3 of the main tools needed to implement policy, all of which are vital for caseworkers and customers. So that's coordinating secondary legislation, managing guidance and managing application forms.
 
Vanessa Schneider:
Suzanne, as I mentioned, there is a mountain of work to be done to improve forms, but maybe it would help listeners if you could start us off by explaining how the process of creating or editing forms works for you?
 
Suzanne Mycock:
So for us it tends to be led by policy teams, so if a policy changes or if a new policy comes into play, sometimes they'll need a, a form to to support the work that they're doing to collect information from end users or applicants. Now, it's not just a case of a policy team coming to us and saying we need a form, we need a paper form, can you go away, create that for us? It’s kind of bigger than that, because it depends on a number of factors.
 
Many of our forms are now on GOV.UK, they’ve been digitised and, um, that they sort of stand for quite a number of the forms that we used to,

Our Collecting Information From Users team and a guest from the Home Office share how we’re helping people in government to create accessible, affordable digital forms.
The transcript for the episode follows:
-------------
 
Vanessa Schneider:
Hello and welcome to the Government Digital Service podcast. My name is Vanessa Schneider and I am Senior Channels and Community Manager at GDS.
 
Today, I’m chatting with colleagues about our work supporting teams across government that collect information from users using online forms, paper forms or a combination of the two. We've been partnering with other government organisations to investigate how they're currently collecting this information and what kind of help they might need. Because right now, almost all of the forms on GOV.UK that have been downloaded around 7,000 or so times are PDFs or other document-based forms. Usually they are inaccessible, hard to use, and on average teams spend 8 minutes more on processing the information they collect, compared to online forms. This is bad for users, and also bad for government, as it’s inefficient and misses opportunities for using the data for analysis. Worse, these kinds of forms are growing by approximately 6% every year and we estimate it would take the existing form-building service teams more than 70 years to convert just the existing PDFs into HTML forms.
 
So I’m joined by Harry Voss, Senior Product Manager, and Moyo Kolawole, Senior User Researcher, from GDS, who are part of a team working on a solution that will make it much easier to digitise existing forms, and make it simpler for people in government to create new digital forms - even if they don’t have technical expertise. I’m also joined by Suzanne Mycock from the Family Policy Unit in the Home Office, who has been contributing to the research our team is conducting.
 
To kick us off, Moyo, would you please introduce yourself to our listeners?
 
Moyosore Kolawole:
Sure. Hi I'm Moyo Kolawole. I'm a Senior User Researcher on the Collecting Information from Users team at GDS.
 
Vanessa Schneider:
Great, thank you. Harry how about you, would you please introduce yourself?
 
Harry Vos:
Yeah, sure. Hey, folks, I'm Harry Vos, I'm a Senior Product Manager at Government Digital Service. Um, I've been around for like 4 years or something, err, and, err, yeah I’ve been looking at forms and how people collect information from members of the public and businesses, err, since December. So I've been really lucky to be working with some amazing people across government. Thanks for having me.
 
Vanessa Schneider:
No worries, thank you. And finally, Suzanne, would you like to introduce yourself as well, please?
 
Suzanne Mycock:
Hi there. My name's Suzanne Mycock. And I'm a Guidance and Forms Editor. I work on the Guidance Rules and Forms team, part of the Family Policy Unit within the Home Office. Err, our team manages 3 of the main tools needed to implement policy, all of which are vital for caseworkers and customers. So that's coordinating secondary legislation, managing guidance and managing application forms.
 
Vanessa Schneider:
Suzanne, as I mentioned, there is a mountain of work to be done to improve forms, but maybe it would help listeners if you could start us off by explaining how the process of creating or editing forms works for you?
 
Suzanne Mycock:
So for us it tends to be led by policy teams, so if a policy changes or if a new policy comes into play, sometimes they'll need a, a form to to support the work that they're doing to collect information from end users or applicants. Now, it's not just a case of a policy team coming to us and saying we need a form, we need a paper form, can you go away, create that for us? It’s kind of bigger than that, because it depends on a number of factors.
 
Many of our forms are now on GOV.UK, they’ve been digitised and, um, that they sort of stand for quite a number of the forms that we used to,

34 min

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