Case Study - - The Media Practice User Experience & Creative Solutions

Thursday, March 21st 2019

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JustDivorce was an existing website that had been set up to offer a lower cost alternative to a solicitor serviced undefended divorce. An undefended divorce, where the parties are in agreement that the marriage should come to an end is a relatively straightforward process provided the participants know what documents they have to complete, how those documents need to be verified, checked or witnessed and when each document needs to be presented to the court. The Media Practice was approached by Forth Generation to build a revamped website. The original was an advice site where clients paid for advice to help them complete the divorce process as painlessly as possible though physical form filling was still involved. Our task was to work out how to take the process online.

Understand and model the process
The first step was to understand this divorce process. Over a series of meetings we gathered an in-depth understanding of the undefended divorce process. At the same time we had to understand the court requirements for document submission and the order they needed to be submitted. A simplified modeling approach was adopted that could be used to work through various iterations of the divorce workflow. The workflow was used to track client interaction points, administration activities to be performed by paralegals and court submission and response times throughout the process.

Information gathering and mapping
The most complicated activity for the user is completing the divorce forms. We took the decision early on that all information between the client application form and the actual court documents should be abstracted. Every question was rewritten with a view to eliciting the information in the format needed. Unlike the process of completing multiple forms, the total information requirement could be gathered in a logical order with narrative instructions for the user, clarifying the process even more. Where appropriate it meant that we could also use the same information to populate not just multiple forms but supporting notes and letters to the court as well. 

Working with the information maps and the process models we began to create the site wireframes. Every screen of every form was laid out in wireframe so that we could walk through every user interaction around the forms. The same process was carried out for the admin system. With hundreds of possible options this is the only way to test the design of such a complex system before developing code.

Working with our partners ITLBusiness the development process began. The wireframes and the interactive design documents informed the database and software design and all the visual design elements of the entire site. By using the logical development process above we were able to model the functional specs of key software components. We also developed a CMS that allowed us to create the entire site.

Development and building
Using a LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP) platform the development began. With our development we could build and test the database, develop and test the site hierarchy and take the visual design through various iterations keeping the wireframes as the development reference point. Over a series of development cycles we reached the point where the system is complete, delivering a completely self contained application governing the undefended divorce process.

We delivered a client website with user management and e-commerce capabilities. A back office administration system with the ability to generate court ready PDF forms and supporting letters. A comprehensive CMS tying the entire system together that allowed many application customisation options without resorting to the source code.

Creative development: Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator. Custom code and CSS development environment: Dreamweaver and EditPlus. Delivered on LAMP platform.