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Issues prototype

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Be where people are, Continuous iteration,, Start with user needs

For our first sprint we had a goal to produce a working in-browser prototype. It made sense to follow on from some of our work in the Fluxx rapid start incubation.

One of the prototypes we produced with Fluxx was ‘Interact’, a site designed to help people get involved with issues they care about. We decided to take a step back from getting people engaged with issues and instead begin with their core needs around issues. Initially starting with one issue and eventually testing several in order to find content patterns.

After discussions with the content team and colleagues in both Houses, Ganesh and myself took the EU Referendum as a current hot topic and asked people on the street about their general understanding of the issue and what would help inform their decision. We recorded these conversations and, with the help of Kheira, wrote down key quotes onto post-its and arranged them into clusters of information on a board. Some of these clusters were useful background information (for example, current sources of information) and others flowed neatly into user needs (for example, a need to understand the practicalities around the referendum process).


With the help of Rob from the content team and Ed from the House of Commons Library we went through these user needs and broke them down into various content types. Each of us then individually sketched ideas for a prototype before coming back together as a team to discuss them all. Once we had a general idea of the direction we wanted to take for the initial prototype we wrote down all the different content types and arranged them in order, as if they were on a mobile screen, to help define the hierarchy of content.


Ed designed the content using a number of existing Parliament resources such as this House of Commons Library Briefing Paper. Giuseppe and myself then produced a quick responsive prototype ready for the sprint’s Show and Tell. We also conducted content testing with a small number of users, asking them what type of information they would expect to find on a Parliamentary issue page and whether they found the information useful.


The last task of the sprint was for us to come together as a team and discuss what we had learnt so far from this prototype and what we planned to do next. Some of the insights from the initial testing were new and some insights reinforced findings from our discovery research (for example, avoiding the trap of Parliamentary jargon). We also came away with several questions, including:

  • How do we define the difference between issues, events and topics?
  • What content falls within Parliament’s remit?
  • How does this fit within the core role of Parliament?

The learnings and the questions raised from this prototype have helped focus the forthcoming sprints and for the time being we have decided to put ‘issues’ on hold.

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