Designing the Child Funeral Fund Service

Background In March 2019, the then Prime Minister announced a new scheme to help with funeral costs for parents who have lost their child. Under the scheme, parents will be able to get financial support to cover the costs of burials or cremations. Tight deadlines meant that the team and I had just 6 weeks to design and launch the service to the public. While the service also applies to funeral directors and cremation and burial providers, this blog post focuses on the journey for parents and friends of the family (also known as the responsible person). Making tradeoffs With our deadline, we didn’t have time to do research directly with users or go through a service assessment. Here are the tools we used to help us design a simple service as fast as possible. 1. The MOJ Form Builder platform Page flow view inside the Form Builder platform. Ministry of Justice (MOJ) Digital and Technology created the Form Builder platform to let publishers create digital forms easily using components from the GOV.UK Design System. Using the platform for this service significantly reduced the time it took to develop and launch our service. 2. Desk research Google Doc with links and resources to things we found during desk research. The team shared links to articles, content on funeral director sites and existing content on GOV.UK. Our user researcher also contacted bereavement charities and spoke to the Funeral Expenses Payment team at the Department for Work and Pensions to learn how best to communicate with those who have suffered bereavement. 3. Journey mapping Digitised version of the end to end journey map in Miro. I planned and facilitated workshops to map the end to end journey. This helped us to understand the process, spot gaps and jot down ideas quickly as a team. We used the map to prioritise additional tasks, like doing more targeted desk research and getting clarification about the policy. We spoke to the cross-government design community to ask questions and get feedback on our designs as early as possible. I’ll provide some examples of this later. Shorthand form design In the early stages of form design there’s often lots of changes to the content and the order of the questions. So instead of designing in code, which takes longer, I worked with our content designer and researcher using Google Docs. We used shorthand syntax to represent different form controls. For example, brackets for radio buttons and square brackets for checkboxes. Google Doc showing how we collaborated on the design of the questions using shorthand form syntax. We also used the error templates from the GOV.UK Design System to set the validation rules and write error messages ready for the live service. Question protocol mapping As part of doing the hard work to make things simple for users – especially in this sensitive situation – we only wanted to ask users questions that were absolutely necessary. We created a question protocol map using Google Sheets. Doing this helps to know why you’re asking every question. Question protocol map using Google Sheets. The map has columns for clauses from policy, form fields, data needed, details of how it will be used, and the level of importance. Rows represented the data being captured. I organised a workshop with our user researcher and a colleague from the operations team to run through each row of the map. For example, we ran through what will happen when the user doesn’t have the burial or cremation certificate. The answer was: the caseworker will contact the cremation or burial provider to confirm the funeral…

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