Can’t beat a beta day!

ScotLIS testing in the Scottish Highlands

As the private beta phase of Scotland’s brand new land information service finishes and the development moves into its next stage, the team travelled to the Highlands, to Inverness, to do some ‘beta’ research. Following on from the alpha day workshop which took place in August while the product was in the alpha phase of development, the trip to Inverness on 4 & 5 October started with five 1:1 sessions with a range of business users and ‘pop-up’ research in the city’s Eastgate Centre with members of the public who will ultimately be the citizen end user. Day two was ‘beta day’, a series of workshop sessions focused on business users working in more rural areas.

Held at Jury’s Inn, there were 10 attendees in total on the day who worked across a range of sectors. The majority were representatives from solicitors firms dealing with domestic, rural and commercial legal work plus stakeholders from the local authority and forestry commission. The format was based on the successful alpha day template where, after a brief introduction to the service, the attendees went on a walk-through of ScotLIS for land and property held on the Land Register followed by a Q&A session. The afternoon workshop focused on a walk-through of how ScotLIS exposes the much older data held on the Sasine Register. The day came to a close with a Q&A session for Sasines, a brief findings round up delivered by the team and a chance for attendees to give their thoughts using anonymous feedback forms.

Effective research requires coverage of a wide demographic and the ScotLIS beta day in the Highlands certainly helped achieve this. The combination of engagement and collaboration with stakeholders in more rural areas with different perspectives and requirements to those from the central belt, for example, was also beneficial to the attendees.

Feedback from both business and potential public users across both days was excellent. Comments covered both the service and the style of the sessions:

‘A detailed walkthrough of the portal’ with a team that were ‘very open to feedback’.

Hilary Brownlie, lead service designer on the ScotLIS development team highlights the importance of usability testing sessions like beta day:

‘Collaboration and engagement with stakeholders like this is vital to the development of new services which form part of our digital transformation programme here at Registers of Scotland. Events like those held recently in Inverness give us the opportunity to share ScotLIS, whilst users, some of whom due to their geographical location we wouldn’t have the opportunity to meet face to face, can provide suggestions and share their ideas and knowledge with us.’

ScotLIS was officially launched as part of the Registrars of Title Conference on 24 October but we would still like to hear from business users who would like to be involved in ongoing usability testing, please contact ruth.baxter@ros.gov.uk for more information.

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