https://pds.blog.parliament.uk/2018/03/21/petitioning-against-hs2-how-the-service-is-doing/

Petitioning against HS2 – how the service is doing

We recently built an online petitioning platform that lets users petition online for the first time.

One of the main benefits to users was that they wouldn’t need to travel to Westminster to submit their petition. Especially when petitioning against phase 1 of HS2 as most of the petitions were coming from the affected areas in the Midlands.

Let’s look at the data

We set ourselves five goals before releasing the online system. After the petitioning deadline had passed, it was time to look at how the service is doing.

Each goal was attached to a set of key performance indicators (KPIs). For example, one of our goals was to have a seamless user journey for online petition submission. Some of our KPIs for this goal included: low bounce rate on the template download page for returning users, low exit rate on the upload page, and a low exit rate on the personal details page.

We found:

  • a bounce rate of 23% on the template download page for returning users
  • an exit rate of 5% on the upload page
  • an exit rate of 7% on the personal details page

All of which are relatively low and led to us achieving this goal.

Understanding the user journey

To understand the user journey better, we built a custom funnel on Google Analytics. The funnel below shows that the details page is where 69 sessions ended. This is higher than any of the other steps in the petition process.

Bar chart showing the number of sessions completed and not completed at each stage of the user journey
Chart showing the number of sessions completed and not completed at each stage of the user journey

At this stage, we can’t identify if it was a particular field on the personal details page that was causing users to drop off. It’s certainly something we intend to dig deeper into in the future.

The introduction of an online petitioning system makes petitioning more accessible for users, and therefore increases the risk of receiving petitions from users that are not actually affected. Therefore, another goal we set was to receive submissions from relevant users only, to reduce admin costs for Parliament.

One way to measure the success of this goal was to look at which cities users submitted their petitions from on Google Analytics. While we did receive some relevant petitions from outside of the Midlands (for example, from legal representatives based elsewhere), most of them correlated with the HS2 phase 2a route.

Out of the five goals we set ourselves, we successfully achieved all five. We’ll continue to analyse the results of upcoming petitions for continuous iteration and improvement to our services.

Read more posts about how we use analytics to help our work

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