Helping families find Education and SEND content

Dominic James, 25 September 2023 - User research

Find out how we tested and updated content to help children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

The local offer provides information about the support available to children and young people with SEND.

Included in the local offer is content about health, social care and education.
Our blog post will show you how we tested the Family Information Service website.

Education and SEND content

Our focus was on content areas that received high volumes of traffic and user feedback. From the statistics we identified Education and SEND as an area for user testing. The original pages were grouped content under the following titles:

  • SEND and right to mainstream education
  • SEND help in education
  • SEND education options and admissions
  • SEND School Transport
  • SEND and moving between stages of education
  • SEN school capital funding

We used an inline index template for the original content area. It kept all the pages together but made it difficult to navigate. From the website statistics the most popular content areas were:

  • Educational Health Care plans (EHCP)
  • Education options and admissions

With the EHCP content although it had a lot of traffic it was not easy to find. A user would need to navigate to the section called SEND help in education and then find a link to the content.

Our approach to user testing

We created a card sort exercise and asked families to prioritise the content. The online test was available for 2 weeks and we received over 150 responses. From the results we could see that the highest priorities were:

  • Educational Health Care plans
  • SEN support in schools
  • SEND support services

How we made improvements to content

The content was restructured and pages created with clearer titles. On the landing page the most popular pages are at the top. Although we have more web pages we have made it easier to see the full listing of SEND and education content.

Telling users what has changed

With the local offer we need to provide feedback on the content changes. On the website we published the following feedback:

You said, in our online user testing about the Education and SEND section of our website:

  • SEN support in school, EHC plans and SEND support services were most important to you
  • there should be more links to mental health support
  • there should be clear guidance on all the education options available

We did:

  • we improved our Education and SEND section by creating a new structure to make it easier to find the topics you’re looking for
  • we made clearer links to mental health support
  • we created a more straightforward and clearly defined page on all the education options available in Buckinghamshire

User testing completed by the Family Information Service and the Digital Team.