How e-forms improved the usability of West Sussex County Council’s website

West Sussex County Council had a longer-term plan to replace their entire forms package on their website. In the interim they needed a solution which would improve the customer experience and streamline operational processes.

Capita’s digital specialist team were commissioned to improve the usability of the website, and enhance online accessibility and customer support, to make the website a key customer channel, while generating operational efficiencies.

Our approach

Capita completed a detailed review of the website content and use of forms. During the review, the team found that specific services within the County Council had been creating customer forms using MS Word, Adobe PDF and an aging system called Form builder. This approach was delivering a poor user experience as forms were often unnecessarily long, complicated and inaccessible on mobile devices.

Following a detailed analysis of alternative online form solutions, Umbraco forms was selected to best meet the County Council’s requirements and provide a solution that could seamlessly integrate into the new website design and content management system (CMS).

Content designers were trained in creating and maintaining forms using the new system. In just two months, the team designed and built 41 forms for 16 different services. For example one form enabled customers to request Adults’ and Children’s Social Care support. The forms were integrated into the new CMS in time for the go-live of the new County Council website.

The impact

This approach meant that, as part of the wider website continuous improvement work, the team could identify further areas where the County Council could take simple and practical steps to enhance the customer experience and operational process.

As a result, the County Council has experienced efficiencies in their back office functions. As an example, the Special Education Needs Assessment Team reported that processing time had reduced from “days to hours”.

“Prior to the current e-form, an initial referral would take, on average, 2 hours to process. With the Umbraco form, an initial referral takes approximately 1 hour to process. This includes saving, printing and copying all attachments.”

West Sussex County Council Officer 

User experience has also significantly improved, evidenced by the excellent customer feedback received about using the County Council’s new website:

"Congratulations to the webmasters – splendid site, clear and responsive. Easy to navigate. I have not seen a better one."

"Nice, straight forward, easy to navigate."

"Overall very well edited and informative.”