Content design for the goverment’s tax authority
The brief: make tax less taxing
HM Revenue & Customs wanted to overhaul its PAYE income tax portal on GOV.UK to make it easier for users to pay their tax bills and reclaim any overpaid tax. Echosix director Kieran Wyatt was engaged as a content designer to transform the service’s content and user journeys. More than 10 million taxpayers use the service – this was high-profile work with no margin for error.
Step 1: putting users first
All content on GOV.UK puts user needs first. We observed many hours of user research to fully understand the service and the users’ pain points and start to create new concepts for easing the user journey.
Step 2: iterating at pace
We acted quickly on the user research results, working alongside an interaction designer to iterate at pace and create new content and design treatments for testing and deployment. We had to deal sensitively with business pressures, balancing policy and legal needs with those of users. All content was written to established GDS and GOV.UK guidelines, templates and patterns.
Step 3: A/B testing
We helped introduce A/B testing to the service, using Optimizely to benchmark content treatments in the service. We demonstrated how small – but important – content changes could significantly change user behaviour and result in higher completion rates for payment or refunding of tax online. A/B testing was subsequently rolled out across a number of other HMRC tax services.
Step 4: iterating for the future
Kieran helped design a new dashboard to let users choose from multiple tax years and created content variants to cater for a multitude of tax scenarios. The evolved service launched in April 2018 without a hitch and increased online tax payments to and from HMRC by 97% in the first three months.