Beatrice Lucy from Citizen Advice Bureau

Beatrice is the chief digital officer for the Citizen Advice Bureau and had plenty to say on digital design. The presentation opened with a live webpage which was the first thing that they built for staff.

The dashboard is live and displays the amount of people on the website currently, what people are searching for on the website, searches coming from google and what’s trending on the website.

They found this particularly helpful to have up in reception to remind staff why they do what they do.  It led to some really interesting thoughts on content design as many times we have people from services using technical or policy speak which doesn’t always reflect the language the public use. Having this tool would go some way to helping us convince service’s to release their grip on ‘council speak’ and engage with the public in the language they use and on their terms.

With almost 800 pages a year being added there was a big temptation to just keep adding pages as it’s harder to comprehend the size of a website as it’s not a book! In the same light it’s not difficult to end up with a page that runs close to 5,000 words, no one is going to scroll down to read it all!

The most interesting part was recognising that there were a number of user groups for the website:

  • The public
  • Their own employees
  • External organisations such as DWP

Although these users will complete different actions on the website they may come with a very different state of mind i.e. a debt collector is knocking on their door while they are on the phone to citizen advice or on their website.

They ensured everything was tested with users before going live and got staff involved by offering incentives to do tasks and be interviewed.

Ok so what now? Thought from Sophie Payne (Head of Customer Experience and Communications)

Let’s not fall in to the trap of producing content solely for our website, we need to recognise that users are on other platforms be they money saving websites or on whatsapp discussing pot holes, is there a way we can prompt them to interact with the council where they are?

We really need to develop a deeper understanding of our users so we can truly help them by understanding their needs i.e. is a digital solution the right solution? Perhaps if we can make the website easier to use, we can free up advisors to do more face to face or telephone calls if it’s required.

The key to developing understanding for the website is the research. The digital team used guerrilla marketing where they sat in CAB waiting rooms to talk to customers and got their own staff to test drive the website with incentives in exchange for 4 hrs of time a month. This was complemented by a number of online tools such as Crazy Egg, eye tracking and recording behaviours from the website itself.


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