The discovery phase of the project set out to understand the users and the context, how employers go about finding information to support their disabled of sick employees.
Based on over 30 qualitative interviews, workshops with employers and analysis of 180,000 webpages, a key finding of the discovery was evidence of a need for more tailored information.
The team proposed 'directed guidance' – a series of questions that an employer would answer. Depending on their response, they would then receive information and guidance tailored to their circumstances.
The alpha phase that followed saw work start on a prototype of the directed guidance tool.
During alpha the team successfully validated the service concept and user requirements, adhering to Government Service Standards. We engaged with the Government Digital Service (GDS) to ensure alignment with its aims; and we conducted prototype testing with 20 businesses, building confidence that the proposed solution would meet user needs.
After presenting results to GDS and DWP policy directors, the project moved into private beta. Opencast developers, DevOps and QA consultants collaborated closely with the DWP Digital team to build out a working service.
By the end of 2021, the service moved from alpha into private beta, before moving into public beta in Autumn 2022.
The private beta phase involved over 80 further research sessions with employers and line managers, as well as extensive engagement with disability organisations. Over 1500 users tested the service in a restricted private environment to help fine tune and validate the service.