If you’ve ever tried to book, attend an event or access a service on the UAL website you may have been faced with a Word, PDF or Excel form. We recognise that this is not a good user experience and highlights that some of our processes could be improved. Through the Online Estate Services Programme and the online forms project, we have been looking at how we can improve the forms experience for our users – both on our website and our staff intranet. We are looking to:

  • rationalise the amount of forms we have,
  • standardise the fields where we ask for data,
  • convert all word, PDF and Excel forms to online forms,
  • and replace current online forms delivered through Wufoo software with improved forms.

The project is also looking at the governance of form creation and the back-end processes that manage the data.

So far we’ve completed a proof of concept exercise with 3 form providers and found that our needs were best met by a company called PretaGov.

Behind the scenes we’ve sifted through more than 500 Wufoo forms and found that some forms date back to 2007!

We’ve streamlined the selection, removed old forms and data, and retained those forms which are currently in use. We are looking at streamlining the processes behind the forms and working out if we can simplify them and improve the user experience as we look at moving them into PretaGov.

By auditing just one Wufoo account we’ve consolidated our forms down from over 500 to just over 200. Replacing these Wufoo forms will be the focus for the first phase of delivery. We are also designing templates for frequently used forms to help website editors create forms using best practice and to provide a more consistent front-end user experience.

Standardising our forms will greatly improve the user experience making them quicker and easier to fill out. Forms will also be responsive and accessible (to WCAG ‘A’ standard ‘AA’ wherever possible). From the back-end point of view it will also reduce the time and energy that staff spend creating, editing and managing forms.

The team has also been working with the University’s Records Manager to understand the implications of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force from May 2018.