How the Web team used the ‘top tasks’ approach to prioritise

The Web team wanted to find out why people were coming to coop.co.uk which is the start page for many other Co-op products and services within Co-op Funeralcare, Food, Legal Services and Insurance. Not knowing why people were coming to the homepage made prioritising our work difficult. To help with this, we recently did a piece of research into which tasks people want to complete when they visit the site. 

At this point, I was new to both user research and the Web team so this was a brilliant introduction and overview of my new team’s scope. 

Our colleagues in Insurance and Funeralcare suggested we use the ‘top tasks’ approach by Gerry McGovern which aims to help teams find out where they can add the most value to users based on which tasks are in the highest demand. The idea is to: 

  1. Identify the tasks users want to complete most often – these are the ‘top tasks’.  
  2. Measure how the top tasks are performing by looking at – amongst other things – how long they take to complete in comparison to a baseline timeWhether users completed the task and whether they followed the online journey we’d expected  
  3. Identify where improvements could be made. Make them. 
  4. Repeat. 

How we identified the top tasks  

image

Through analytics, a ‘what are you looking to do today?’ feedback form on the homepage, plus having a dig around the domain during desk research, we compiled a list of around 170 tasks that are possible to complete on coop.co.uk.  

To make sure the work that followed this was free from bias and therefore meaningful – it was important to compile a comprehensive list of every single task. A complete list meant we had a better chance at finding out what the customer wants to do rather than what the organisation wants the customer to do. 

First wshared the list with the rest of the Web team to sense check. Then, because we knew that customers would skimread the list when we put it in front of them, we asked the Content design community to check we’d written each task in a way that customers would understand quickly, using the language we’ve observed them using.   

After finessing, we shared with product teams in Co-op Digital and stakeholders in the wider business to make sure we hadn’t missed tasks off.  

Collaborating helped us whittle the lists of 170 tasks down to 50 – a much more manageable number to present to customers on the homepage. 

And the 6 top tasks are…

We listed the top 50 tasks in an online survey on the homepage and asked users to vote on the top 5 reasons they come to the website.  

At around 3,000 responses we took the survey down. The results showed that the most common reasons people visit coop.co.uk is to: 

  1. Select personalised offers for members. 
  2. Look for food deals available to all customers (£5 freezer fillers, fresh 3). 
  3. Check your Co-op Membership balance. 
  4. Find what deals are available in a store near to you 
  5. Choose a local cause. 
  6. Add points from a receipt onto a Co-op Membership account. 

There were no surprises here then. 

Measuring the performance of the top tasks

In the majority of cases, we found that users succeeded in completing the tasks. This doesn’t come as a surprise because each individual product team knows why their group of users most frequently use their product or service and they already have product and research prioritise in place. 

However, this piece of work did flag up that there could be room for improvement in the following tasks: 

  1. Sign into a membership account. 
  2. Change your local cause. 
  3. Add points from a receipt onto a Co-op Membership account.  

image (1)

The image above shows how long it took on average for users to see their membership balance, choose an offer, choose a local cause and to add a receipt. The orange line shows how long we’d expect it to take. The graph shows that checking a balance is quicker than we’d expected but the remaining 3 are slightly longer.

image (2) 

The image above shows how how ‘successful’ users were at seeing their membership balance, choosing an offer, choosing a local cause and to adding points to their membership from a receipt. A ‘direct success’ (shown in green, the bottom band of colour) is when the user completes the task in the way we’d expect. An ‘indirect success’ is when a user completes a task in a way we didn’t expect (show in orange, or the top band). 20% of people failed to choose an offer (shown in red at the top of the second column).

 

image (3)

The image above shows an ‘average overall score’ (where 10 is excellent and 1 is poor) and is worked out by combining the ‘success score’ (a scale of 1-3 indicating a direct success, indirect success or failure) plus a ‘difficulty score’ (a scale of 1-7 on how difficult the user found the task to complete). 

The idea came from Measuring and quantifying user experience, a post from UX Collective. 

What we learnt 

The big takeaways were: 

  1. There are a couple of tasks we didn’t think were important, but users did.  
  2. The work also helped us optimise our search. The feedback form on the homepage which asked what customers wanted to do had a significant number of responses looking for our gluten-free (GF) fishcakesThis was a result of Coeliac UK including them in a roundup of GF products. But thewerent on our site. And when people were searching for them, the search would return GF recipes. The Web team worked with the Optimisation and search team and now the GF products appear before recipes. Since then, there’s been a 70% increase in GF searches, and more pages are being looked at. People coming for GF products are now spending 2 minutes on the site – an increase of 30 seconds. 
  3. However, the top tasks approach may be more useful for teams with transactional services so that measuring it a baseline and improvements would be easier – the Web team itself doesn’t have any transactional services. 

Top tasks approach: how useful?

Overall, top tasks is useful because it gave us data that is helping the Web team prioritise, and set out my research priorities.  

The priorities list will keep us focussed and it’ll be useful to point to if there’s a request to work on something that we’ve found to have little value. Now we have data to help us push back against requests that don’t have customer and member needs at the centre. 

Now and next 

The Web team has created a task performance indicator for some of the top tasks identified so that as we make improvements to different areas of the website, we have something to measure against. 

If you’ve used the top tasks approach, let us know why and how useful you found it in the comments. 

Kaaleekaa Agravat
User researcher  

Mike Bracken: 700k new members, helping Food colleagues and an upcoming Funeralcare event


Mike: Hello. Welcome to week 11 update from Co-op Digital. Start off with a big number. Six months ago we launched the new membership scheme for the Co-op. This week we passed 700,000 new members. Great effort from the Membership team and everyone across the Co-op Group to roll out the service. It’s great seeing members come back to the Co-op.

I want to talk about 4 things we’ve done this week.

First is in Funeralcare where in our Edinburgh hub we’ve rolled out the new digital service that’s transforming that business following on from our Bolton work. There’s an event here in Manchester next week, you’re more than welcome to come to that to talk about how we’re digitising the Funeralcare business. [more information below]

Our wills service has been handed back right into that wills business which is now taking more and more of our transactions digitally.

And our coop.co.uk site and our corporate sites have had a refresh from Peter Brumby and the team. They look great.

Final thing is Store Dashboard. We’re starting to get real traction with our Food business and you’ll see on our blog the reception that our store managers give when we give them these great digital tools and services. You’re going to see more of that.

A couple of quick shout outs this week. Rebekah Cooper who’s joined our team is now reverse mentoring Steve Murrells, our CEO. It’s great to see our leadership team welcome digital in and taking the advice from a younger generation.

And also we’re helping Liverpool Geek Girls and sponsoring them as they come through and take part in this community here in Manchester.

And it would be remiss of me not to finish with the usual “were hiring.” We’ve got some great opportunities so do check out our blog and see if you can come and join the team.

Thanks a lot.

Mike Bracken
Chief Digital Officer

Come to a talk about the digital transformation of our Funeralcare business on 28 March. You can get your free ticket at Eventbrite.

Why we’ve moved to coop.co.uk

We recently announced that we were changing our web address to become coop.co.uk. We wanted to let you know why.

Image with coop.co.uk

Why Coop?

In the digital space it makes sense as it mirrors the new brand identity. It’s how the majority of our users find us when searching on the web. It’s also more user friendly when using mobile and touchscreen devices. Additionally, some social platforms do not support punctuation in a hashtag, so the “-” becomes problematic. For consistency we felt that it was better to remove it.

Why .co.uk?

We’ve found that .coop is relatively unknown to typical customers. Most are more familiar with .co.uk and .com.

Currently, we have many different web addresses and this presents a confusing picture. We felt the need to adopt a better strategy. That is consistent, sustainable, supports the brand and is easy for customers to understand. Moving to coop.co.uk gives us this opportunity. We will transition current and new sites into this url format in the coming months. It will allow us to better function as a group online. It will join up our businesses in a more logical manner and provide a better experience.

If you have any questions about this approach then please get in touch. Also for any council members or colleagues there is an open invitation to join us at our show and tell, every Wednesday at 10.15 – 10.45, on the 10th floor of 1 Angel Square in Manchester.

Nick Gallon

coop.co.uk

You’ve probably already read about our re-brand – here’s a reminder just in case. As Mike said we’re committed to radical transparency, so in that spirit, I’m going to talk about the work we’ve done so far on the Co-op website.

You may have noticed the changes that we’ve made already to the website. We’ve changed the font, logo, plus have introduced a new url structure that matches our new name – coop.co.uk. But we aren’t going to stop there.

We’re going to deliver a new service on coop.co.uk. I’m the product manager on the team that’s tasked with delivery of the new service. We’ll deliver a distinctive new service, slowly retiring the existing one from view.

Mock up of mobile version of coop.co.uk

Our vision for coop.co.uk

“Coop.co.uk ruthlessly focusses on better meeting the needs of customers, members and colleagues.

It’s supported by a range of tools and ways of working that gives Co-op the ability to respond fast to changing user needs and opportunities.”

Our first deliverable, an Alpha version of the corporate site (that’s the bit of the website that has lots of information about who we are, where we are, what we do, careers, press information etc), is coming soon. We’ll write about it here, so keep an eye on the blog. We’ll then iterate to both improve the service and expand its capability.

Getting to this point is a significant achievement by the new team:

  • We’re focussing on user needs throughout the design and build process.
  • We’ve explored processes and introduced tools required to publish content from across the business.
  • We’ve built an environment that allows us to continually deploy new versions.

True to ‘lean’ principals, we’re also incorporating metrics, to help us gauge how the service is performing. This will give us the ability to react and make changes when necessary. We’re always after feedback, so do let us know what you think.

Nick Gallon