UK Home Office

Using journey mapping to uphold test integrity and improve the test taker experience

Background

Since 2005, anyone seeking Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK or naturalization as a British citizen must pass the Life in the UK (LitUK) test. Test takers are required to answer 24 multiple choice questions about the UK and its culture, history, traditions, laws and responsibilities of citizens. The test lasts 45 minutes and takes place under secure conditions in a Home Office approved test center.

PSI has partnered with the UK Home Office to deliver secure LitUK testing for over a decade. Well into an effective partnership, with test taker satisfaction levels consistently above 90%, the team knew they were getting a lot right. But they still wanted to identify possible areas for improvement, potential gaps and operational efficiencies.

Most importantly, mapping and analyzing the test taker journey was an opportunity to look at the LitUK testing experience from the test taker perspective. To make the experience as easy and accessible as possible – for all test takers.


With test taker journey mapping and partnership working we are building on contractual requirements and striving for continuous improvement. The workshops provided valuable insights into how, through working with PSI, there are opportunities to maintain the integrity of the test while enhancing the test taker experience.

Martin Morton Contracts Manager, UK Home Office

Challenge

Kicking off the project in late 2021, the first step was to map the test taker journey in a huge level of detail. Including every scroll, every click, navigation between pages and how test takers find important pieces of information. The team used a diagram to visualize the journey, detailing all the actions a test taker might take at every stage of the process. The final map included five stages of the test taker journey – including test booking.


Collaborative workshops
In a series of collaborative online workshops, the team examined the test taker journey map in detail. Starting with the question: Who are our test takers?

These workshops involved a broad range of stakeholders from the Home Office and PSI. From customer success, experience and insight teams to helpline staff and test developers. Anyone and everyone who has an impact on the LitUK test was involved in the process.

Key considerations for workshop participants were the importance of empathy and detail at every step. When it came to accessibility and accommodations, the team drew on viewpoints outside their own experience. Where possible, individuals or teams whose work focuses on a particular cohort of test takers were involved in the workshop to add their specific viewpoints and insights.


Solution

After the workshops, a detailed log was created to capture all the ideas and feedback generated by stakeholders. This log contained possible improvements to the journey, as well as potential enhancements to areas that were felt to be operating well.

Over 80 ideas were logged. For example:

Workshop 1
GOV.UK website

This is where test takers first learn about the LitUK test and are signposted to each part of the journey. The information on GOV.UK is standardised as plain text in accordance with all accessibility requirements, so the possibility of finding new ways to display information in more visual ways was identified and explored. As well as clearer signposting to and from the website.

Workshop 2
Registering for the test

With stringent security measures at test centers and an understanding that test takers come from a wide range of backgrounds with unique requirements, the importance of clear instructions and information was identified at this workshop. As a result, automation and a streamlined approach to special accommodation requests were explored in depth.

Workshop 3
Test booking

Standards and expectations for online experiences are high, and the test booking process must match this. This workshop explored the value of scheduling tools that look and feel familiar to test takers when they select a test date or location, as well as confirmation and reminder emails written for clarity and brevity.

Workshop 4
Test center experience and receiving results

This workshop highlighted how clear and concise information provided before test day is integral to providing a smooth and positive test center experience. The aim is to make the test taker journey as seamless and stress free as possible. Visual in-center assets, clear reminder emails and clear signposting for their onward journey on receiving their results are all priorities.


Test taker journey mapping takes work, but it’s worth it. The process reveals where improvements and enhancements can be made. And it allows you the time needed, away from day-to-day program management, to explore these opportunities in detail. It might be 1-2% efficiencies, but a number of these along the journey delivers a huge impact – for your test takers and your program.

Domonique Shelton Program Manager, PSI

Improvements Log

The improvements were then prioritized according to their expected impact (e.g. number of test takers involved, impact on service delivery) and anticipated timescale.

After the triage process, the team got to work straight away on the high impact and shorter-term measures. Including email content and visual assets. These improvements are currently in progress, so watch this space for results. As well as updates as the team works through the improvements log.

Key Takeaways

  • Scrutinize every aspect of the test taker experience
  • Empathize at every step
  • Detail matters
  • Involve as many stakeholders as you can
  • Measure success – and celebrate it!

Test taker expectations have never been higher. So consistency in branding and messaging, as well as a fast and smooth experience, is more important than ever. We’re here to make sure our clients, and their programs, stand out from the field.

Rory Northam Senior Business Development Manager, PSI

Connect With An Expert

Test taker journey mapping can be the catalyst for expanding your program by reaching more test takers. We’ve also seen journey mapping lead to the development of new programs and qualifications for clients – where the process has identified a need and gap in the market, and we’ve supported them to step up and fill it.

Rory Northam, Senior Business Development Manager, PSI