Week notes

These weekly posts are designed to give some insight into what is happening inside the Business Connect team and allow us to share what we’re learning and achieving.

May 2024

24 May – Preparing for launch

This week the team has been busily testing and checking our first form for unauthenticated users to make sure it meets security requirements and is working faultlessly.

Up until now, all our forms have been published on the Business Connect platform. Users need to register for the platform with RealMe to start filling in the form.

It’s exciting to be able to deliver a whole new range of forms that don’t make sense behind a login. Now we can publish registrations of interest, feedback or enquiry forms that will pop up in a browser when someone clicks the link on a government website.

I’m grateful to the Regional Business Partners Network team for working with us on this. They have been our guinea pigs and so accommodating in terms of our timing. It makes a world of difference to deliver a new feature alongside a customer with real world requirements.

By using a common approach to deliver these kinds of forms, we can help users have a familiar experience across different agencies while also saving government time and money.

I’m looking forward to their form going live next week!

Tian, Product Owner

17 May – Global Accessibility Awareness Day

This week it was Global Accessibility Awareness Day on the 16th and I attended the Government Digital Accessibility Forum convened by Department of Internal Affairs. 

It was a good reminder of how much I have left to learn in this area. The more you look, the more you find! The stories and case studies were inspiring and have given our team a few ideas and challenged us too.

There were more than 200 participants and it was great to see people in government flying the flag. 

As I prepare to give a short talk at the Digital Accessibility Discussion Group run by the Ministry for Social Development next week, I became acutely aware of the inaccessible nature of my current slide deck. 

I’m also presenting at a government digital summit next week and I have slides with lots of content that will be entirely inaccessible for anyone in the audience with low vision. I was so impressed with Benni Eustace’s presentation and their clear articulation of the work on NZ Transport Agency’s new app. I’ll try to work some of their techniques into my presentation.

There’s so much to learn and I’m feeling lucky to be surrounded by knowledgeable and generous people in New Zealand Govt who are willing to share.

Shelley, Product Manager

10 May – Business owners generous with their time

As I sat down at the computer to jump on a call with a business owner, I was struck at how incredible it is that people are willing to take time out to talk to me each week.

Based up in Whangarei, this person was squeezing me in between two clients on a typically busy day. Despite this, she was so open to all my questions. She shared with me a bit about her business and her role. She talked through her experience using Business Connect step by step and answered all my probably ignorant questions about her industry.

We spent 20 minutes talking, with me taking copious notes and at the end she graciously thanked me! I’m now typing up my notes to pass on to the agency that manages the service she interacted with and pulling out some things that we might be able to improve.

These interviews help fill in the gaps between our analytics and in-platform feedback. This is the context that let’s us see the bigger picture, gives us empathy and a glimpse of the real-world experience of going through these government processes.

This week I’ve also been reviewing the verbatim feedback we received through the platform in April. There are more than 70 comments which represent a gold mine in terms of what we’re doing well and what is frustrating people. 

Having direct contact with users informs our future work and helps us prioritise the things that will help business owners and administrators the most.

Shelley, Product Manager

3 May – Our journey to enhance inclusivity with automation testing

At Business Connect, we are committed to creating a platform that is accessible to everyone. As part of this effort, we have embarked on a journey to integrate accessibility automation testing into our development cycle. We are pleased to share our progress so far and the benefits we have seen. 

Our goal is to ensure that our platform is usable by everyone, regardless of their abilities. We recognised the importance of automation testing in achieving this goal. By adding automated accessibility testing to our development cycle, we are able to:

  • Reduce the time and effort required for manual testing
  • Identify accessibility issues earlier in the development cycle
  • Improve compliance with accessibility standards (WCAG 2.1)
  • Improve the user experience for all users.

While we are still on this journey, we are encouraged by the progress we have made and the improvements we have seen in the accessibility of our platform. We look forward to continuing to explore advanced features of automated accessibility testing to further improve the inclusivity of the Business Connect platform. 

By sharing our journey, I hope that we inspire others to prioritise digital accessibility and explore the benefits of automation testing. Together we can create a more inclusive digital landscape.

Anastasia, Senior Test Analyst

Previous months

Last updated: 07 June 2024