The team at the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) in Newport has worked with GDS to build this entirely new digital service which allows patent owners and industry professionals to renew patents online.
But rather than listen to me describing this service and its achievements, far better to hear directly from IPO’s service manager Geoff Court - who shares with us the team’s latest work in readying the service for its launch...
We’ve also had a live Digital by Default Service Standard assessment with GDS in London. The Patent renewals team were represented by Andy Townsley (Lead Developer), Fiona Evans (Product Owner), Tracey Waters (Renewals Manager) and myself.
In all, the session lasted 3 1⁄2 hours and we were rigorously questioned about the service on each of the 26 criteria of the Service Standard. This was no small task I can assure you!
The GDS panel focussed extensively on the user research, service design and web analytics. For example, one area of debate was how the completion rate of the service was measured.
During the assessment we challenged some of the assessors’ comments relating to the design of the service. We able to respond confidently to their suggestions for change with evidence from usability testing and satisfaction responses, demonstrating that the existing design of the service was performing well.
After the assessment the team faced a few days of nervous waiting before we were told that we had passed (hurrah!) and could proceed towards our planned live date of 1 July 2014.
Preparations for the live release...
Although we'd achieved the Service Standard, there was still work to do and we’ve been very busy since our assessment.
We’ve increased the capability of the service to ensure that, once the service is live, all patent types can be renewed online. We’ve also made some improvements to the user interface based on feedback, usability, analysis of user data and from the assessment itself. These include changes to inline help and more intuitive labelling of the ‘call to action’ button.
The assessment also highlighted design recommendations such as improving the error message display and moving the service name to the header - changes that we were happy to make.
We’ve refined our analytics and, for consistency with other transactions on GOV.UK, we’ve made the service name active and changed it from ‘Patent renewals’ to ‘Renew a patent’.
By the time you read this the service will no longer be under the orange ‘beta’ banner but will proudly sit under a green ‘live’ label. We’ll be taking a moment to admire our snazzy new mission patch marking this fantastic milestone before continuing our work to maintain standards as more and more users abandon their fax machines and join us online.”
Congratulations to all those at the IPO who were involved in the development of this service. We look forward to seeing the early results of users interacting with the live system.