Transformational User research for Adur & Worthing Councils

We performed user research to help inform the redesign of Adur & Worthing Councils new website.

Client: Adur & Worthing Councils
Sector: Local government
Services: User research

We completed two rounds of user testing during the design and build process to help shape the final website. The first test was on the current website, while the second was on a working prototype of the new website.

Key project outcomes

The challenge

Adur & Worthing Councils were in the process of redesigning its website. They wanted a better understanding of what users thought of their website and where there was the potential to make improvements.

Users of the prior website were exposed to a very dated look regarding design and usability. The council did not have the budget for full-scale lab-based usability testing, and timings were quite tight as initial work had already begun on the new website when they came to us. The website has a wide range of services, and a diverse user base, making detailed user research challenging.

Headshot of Simon Millier

I just wanted to let you know that I'm really happy with the work and outcomes from the recent two phases of user research. Many thanks for the research delivery meeting this week, it was great to see all the fantastic work Luke and Jacob have been doing!

Simon Millier, Digital Development Manager, Adur & Worthing Councils 

Our Co-founder, Adam says

Adam S

Local authority websites have a challenging role to play. They need to get across a vast amount of information in an accessible way to a diverse audience. These websites also have a role to play in promoting the local area. Often, these types of websites fail to give easy access to information and can end up looking very drab indeed! Our user research helped to shape the proposed council website to keep it on track to being a usable and engaging site that represents Adur & Worthing and the surrounding areas in a positive manner.

Adam Stafford, Co-founder 

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Our solution

After realising the scale and scope of the website, we agreed with the digital team to test the most popular user journeys based on their analytics and their knowledge of their users.

The user research took the following format:

  • One round of six user tests to gauge reaction to the current website.
  • A follow-up round of testing on a new design prototype for comparison purposes.
  • BERT (Bipolar Emotional Response Testing) was used as part of the second phase of research to collate and measure feedback on the look and feel of the new design

The user tests involved interviews with residents from the Adur & Worthing area to learn more about their recent experiences dealing with the council, explicitly using the website and other online services. The feedback helped us better understand user needs and areas of frustration.

The council website represents the local area, so we also asked users their opinions on whether they felt the proposed website was a better reflection of the site as a whole for those looking to move or visit the area.

The BERT section of the test involved asking participants to rate the current and proposed website designs across various categories. When compared to the existing website, the new designs were both found to be:

  • More modern
  • More youthful
  • More aspirational
  • More inclusive
  • More flexible
  • And warmer

We collated all the findings and presented them back to the web team at the council for them to update their proposed designs accordingly.

The outcome

A significant amount of insight was gained from both rounds of testing. This has really helped the council shape the design and build of their new website which launched during 2021.

So far, the council have received a lot of positive feedback about the site and has seen a sizable increase in usage of its online services. The updated website design now much better represents the vibrancy of Worthing and the surrounding areas.


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