Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh is the devolved legislature for Scotland.

I worked with the Parliament’s Web Team to design a new web platform and associated set of UI components, before going on to design the remote voting app that supported MSPs during the Covid pandemic.

I started working with the Parliament in late 2019. A project to replace their website and standardise their digital channels was already well underway, between an internal project team comprised of content producers, researchers and project leaders, and an external partner company, who had been leading on build and, up until that point, design.

My first step was a thorough review, identifying a number of issues and inconsistencies.

The core goal for the team had been to develop a system of reusable components and templates in order for them to manage their digital channels beyond the project itself, without external support, however the early work that had been completed at this stage did not align to that aim, with a variety of different styles, interaction patterns and the like present across the nascent site.

Selection of components

With time and budget tight, I decided to rationalise the designs of what had been produced, simplifying, consolidating and standardising core elements like CTA’s, form fields, spacing, typography and use of colour.

This then required getting buy in from both the internal team and their external partner, as to the issues involved and the work that needed to be redone as a consequence. To support this, working closely with the Parliament’s researcher, we began a series of user testing sessions, both highlighting the concerns about what had already been built and validating the proposed new solutions.

BEFORE AND AFTER HOME PAGE

BEFORE AND AFTER MSP SEARCH

BEFORE AND AFTER BILLS LIST

This led me to trying to deliver as much of the new, main website, in as few template and component designs as possible. Each section of the new site; legislation, MSP information, chamber business etc was managed by a distinct internal team that had to be worked with, and their expectations managed in line with what was achievable in the remainder of the project. Additionally, I worked to simplify and rework the site and content structure, avoiding duplicated information, allowing the distinct teams to better work together.

Use of landing page template

In 2021 I returned to work with the Parliament team on an update to the Home Page, creating a more modular system that could be varied to suit the needs of the team; from regular business days, to elections, recess or even emergencies or other important events. I created a variety of content components and layouts, as well as takeovers and banners for important or urgent content.

Content options for normal business days

Content options for emergency situations and recess

The arrival of the pandemic in 2020 had quite an impact on this project.

As the team both switched to remote working, a new experience for many of them, and the team’s researcher left, replaced by a more junior member of staff, I feel that I provided invaluable support in helping them to adjust and to continue to deliver.

It then became clear that, in order for the Parliament itself to continue to function, a means for allowing MSPs to vote from outside of the chamber had to be produced. Quickly!

I pushed for the use of the web project’s design system, by now having been built and extensively user tested, both to save valuable time, and to build further internal interest and support for the effort. Given that I had 2 days to produce an initial concept, and the dev team a matter of weeks to complete the build, it certainly helped.

Supporting the wider team, a functioning MVP was delivered in a few weeks, tested and validated by MSPs and Parliament staff. It was so well received that the Parliament’s Presiding Officer indicated that he intended for the remote voting system to become a permanent addition to Holyrood going forward. The app and the wider service around it was nominated for and won the┬áDigital Public Services Award at the Scottish Public Sector Awards in December 2020.

With designs for the voting app and design system complete, my time at the Parliament was up, though I have periodically consulted or supported the team since leaving as they continue to implement new and enhanced elements to the website.

Agency

-

When

Nov '19 - Aug '20

Fancy a chat?

Any questions, or just fancy saying hello? These links will aid you in your quest...