The Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI), the independent watchdog of social care services in England, has carried out a re-design of its website home page and service directory to enhance user experience. The re-design, a result of extensive usability testing by optimum.web, the usability and accessibility division of RedEye, has enabled CSCI to successfully introduce the ability to search for quality ratings as part of the services directory. The ratings, ranging from 0 – 3 stars, allow people to have the clearest information yet about the quality of care as judged by CSCI inspectors.

The CSCI regulates, inspects and reviews all social care services in the public, private and voluntary sectors in England. With a user-centred design essential for CSCI’s broad range of site visitors, optimum.web looked at ways of resolving known problems as well as enhancing what is featured, visible and understood on the homepage. The resulting, better managed and accessible, home page design and site directory layout were created by optimum.web without changing the fundamental look and feel of the site

The care services directory is an essential feature of the CSCI website. It provides valuable, up-to-date information on care provision throughout the country. From the usability test results, optimum.web was able to improve the search function and layout of results in the services directory, including better navigation to relevant directory pages and improving the display of more detail in the findings.

Other refinements to the home page included greater visibility of the RNIB “see it right” accreditation, the ability to access information via British Sign Language videos, and the link from which to change site specifications to meet the needs of individual users – e.g. colour of text/background or to implement read aloud status. Tabs were re-formatted for greater accessibility and button shapes changed to improve navigational access across the site. Internal page templates were also improved. User feedback has been encouraging, including comments such as "I am writing to applaud the improvements to finding a care service. The search finds the service required in the blink of an eye! Well done!"

Suzannah Brown, New Media Manager at the CSCI comments, “The response we have had to our improved home page and service directory has proven beyond doubt that user-centred design must sit at the heart of any website for it to be most productive. Enhancing the process by which visitors can access information through our home page and service directory through better usability, whilst also adhering to accessibility guidelines, is helping us to provide an improved service to both suppliers of care services and people seeking information about care provision. We have been impressed by the effective results optimum.web has delivered.”

Notes to Editors:

For more detail on the CSCI please visit www.csci.org.uk

Contacts:

Suzannah Brown e: suzannah.brown@csci.gsi.gov.uk t: 0207 979 2081
John Dumas e: john@optimum-web.co.uk t: 0207 881 0864
Ali Rider e: alir@loudmouthpr.co.uk t: 01663 751787

Published on: 12:00AM on 7th July 2008