Web App Case Study

Arts Council
England

BACKGROUND

The Arts Council was set up in 1946, by Royal Charter, to champion and develop art and culture across the country. 

Recognising that self evaluation is an important first step to improving work as well as ensuring the sector remains resilient, diverse and inclusive they approached Morph with the brief to build an online Self Evaluation Toolkit.

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Consultation

Over a period of 18 months Arts Council England worked with Make Culture Work to undertake a consultation with the arts and cultural sector.

Make Culture Work, is an exchange network for anyone interested in how culture impacts on people and places.

The aim of the work was to consult with the arts and culture sector about how a self-evaluation toolkit would work best for them. There were already some tools that were available so it was a case of discussing the pros and cons of these existing options.

Understandably, people wanted it to be easy to use, to look and feel appealing, and provide a meaningful experience. There was also consideration of how practitioners would feel if the tool was within The Arts Council Website and what the implication of this would be.

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brief

The requirements technically were for a web application sitting within an iframe on the Arts Council England website.

This app needed to allow users to sign-up / login to their account and create and complete multiple evaluations over time. The evaluation itself is essentially a series of questions on a range of topics, each asking the user to rate their performance in that area as well as how important it is. Each question also included explanatory text and useful activities to help the user’s understanding. Once an evaluation was complete, a report was to be produced.

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Morph Plan

The Arts Council talked about the toolkit as a ‘gift to the sector’ and, inspired by this, we felt keeping the user experience at the forefront of our thinking was paramount. 

It soon became apparent that a self-evaluation could prove a rather daunting venture for users, with around 25 questions to be answered, many needing some serious thought.

We therefore chose to build the tool as a single page app to ensure painless transition between sections. As well as following modern User Experience (UX) patterns we designed to allow users to complete (or continue with) questions one at time, with clear progress / navigation indicated, and display information and guidance only when relevant.

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One size fits all

An early challenge for the team was to ensure the toolkit proved as equally relevant to individual practitioners as it did to organisations with hundreds of employees.

One example was the reporting feature. The toolkit needed to allow organisations to review their performance over the long term, whether this meant comparing a recent evaluation to one done last year, or comparing several at once. Our solution was to build two report pages: one to display in depth detail for a single selected evaluation, and a second interactive report allowing users to select and compare multiple evaluations side by side.

Outcomes

These stats are cracking!

Ash Egan, Communication Officer Digital and marketing

to the point

We were keen to dig deep and understand the core purpose for the tool.
If it could do one thing brilliantly what would it be? The answer was that users should reflect on their work and prompt them to take action where relevant.

To us, this meant that the Report pages needed to be compelling – having completed a potentially lengthy evaluation, the user should be given something of value in return. Investing significantly in the reports, we combined natural language with charts and tabular data to provide several levels of analysis.

Users can simply takeaway their headline results or get more in-depth with individual data.

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Outcomes

The tool really has already far exceeded my expectations of what we could do with it and that’s due in no small part to the ideas and expertise you’ve brought to developing it, plus it’s been fun! So thank you for all your work.

Viv Niblett, Senior Officer Policy and Research