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Update on rapid start incubation……it is getting hot in here!

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Last week we reached the 3rd week of our incubation period. Our team (Rebecca, Noel, Ganesh, Giuseppe, Jack, Lino and Jocelyn), some business representatives (Ed, Holly and Matt) and our friends from fluxx have been working hard on our two prototypes ‘Jargon Buster’ and ‘Interact’.

After trying out various designs ‘Jargon Buster’ is currently in our pre-production system and is being tested before being launched on the News Pages of our website at the end of this week. This means we have gone from initial idea to a live product on our website in less than 4 weeks.   This is a huge milestone for us as a team and we are very proud of the collaborative and open team work involving colleagues from across the Digital Service and wider House teams to make this happen.  Now we will collect and analyse the feedback which will be captured using A/B Testing methods (A/B testing  - is a method of comparing two versions of a webpage or app against each other to determine which one performs better).

With ‘Interact’ the aim is to help users become more engaged with an issue they care about, so we decided to trial different buttons/pictures and links on various news articles on to measure how many users would click through and contact their MP.   There was limited success so we scrapped this idea and decided on a change of direction after an idea was pitched by Andy our Designer from Fluxx.  We are now working towards creating “”

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With a giant 3D mock-up of the new ‘Interact’ website we hit the streets of London. We showed a list of issues and asked people if they cared about them. If they did, we showed them how to engage - from signing a petition to submitting evidence.

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After consolidating this feedback we are now busy working on the design and build of ’Interact.’ The team are also working out where the best places to promote this website are and whom to start testing it with.


We learnt:

  • Talking to people in the street seems terrifying at first, but was easier than expected and gave us many useful insights. People were more passionate about politics than we imagined, and happily our fears of getting shouted at were unfounded.
  • We went out with 4 issues: EU Referendum; Academy Schools; Investigatory Powers; Refugees & Asylum. This seemed successful – everyone seemed to have at least one they cared about, and though we asked people for any we’d missed no other issue came up more than once. So we are happy to launch with this set of issues.
  • We found 3 camps – a very engaged group near Chancery Lane, who had already written to their MP. Near Stratford many people seemed to distrust MPs, so they were not interested in our prompts to engage and would rather go through a campaign group. The people in Farringdon were in between – happy to engage, but not if it took time. This reinforced the need to focus on people who just need a small nudge to engage more, with a much larger project needed to look at impacting the most disengaged group.
  • The majority of people we spoke to had already signed a petition. So this is the obvious quick and easy entry point into being more active, though perhaps already covered. It was interesting to learn that this route was partly attractive to less engaged people because it didn’t involve contact with an MP.

Back in the office we found: it is easier to keep people informed and to gain decisions if we talk to them 1-to-1 rather than have many meetings.

We are grateful for the support we have received internally and thank you to everyone that has provided feedback via our weekly show and tells. We have a final show and tell at the fluxx offices on the 7th April 1600 - 1700.  If you are interested in attending please speak to Julie Byrne or Ganesh Senthi to get more information.

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