Gold StarSince my last blog we’ve been working hard on improving our Find Property Information service in time for our Government Digital Service (GDS) re-assessment. In case you haven’t heard (see my last blog ) we passed 17 of the 18 service standards and would need to:

“…arrange a reassessment against point 12 (create a service that is simple and intuitive enough that users succeed first time)… The panel would like to see evidence of the need for a login and that the current issues with the journey through the new service have been resolved.”

We began lab testing the new login, which included the register/account creation, in May. We prototyped and tested a number of different account creation versions.

So far, we have tested it with 22 users. We’ve also learnt about the service from users of our existing Find a Property service (as they already have a log in they can use to test the new service) – they:

  • don’t remember creating an account;
  • forget their username;
  • struggle to sign-in;

It’s important that we make the process of account creation easy to do, otherwise, users will reach for the phone to call for help.

We also collected feedback from other Find a Property service users who tested the service:

“It’s good that Land Registry is trying to make it easier to access title information”

“You have moved the English/Welsh translation button to the top right of the ‘summary’ results page and changed the layout so it’s easier to read”

And, of course, my favourite comment, “It’s awesome”

And it’s good to hear feedback when we’ve made an improvement too:

“There was an issue, as it happens, so I also dropped a line to your team & you know what?

“Further to your email, we have now changed the ‘create an account’ link based on your feedback. If users click on the link now it will take them straight into the terms and conditions for the service and then into the relevant page to create an account.”

… and it does. It works. Brilliant that the LR can be so responsive.”

Users have also told us they have concerns over the privacy and security of their data on the register and asking users to create an account appears to alleviate some of these concerns. We also know users would like to select multiple properties [registers] before paying, so allowing users to create an account may be an easy way for this to work.

The re-assessment date with GDS has been set for the 18th August. By then, we expect to have built and released the ability for a user to create an account and reset their password. Users will also create a username using their email address so it will make it less likely that they will forget it.

We’ll also move the point at which a user has to sign-in or create an account, to after they have conducted a property search (currently you have to sign-in before you are able to use the service).

Users will hopefully never see what we’ve done to change the error messages a user would see when signing in or creating an account. We have reviewed 50+ existing error messages and begun turning these into plain English, making it easier for users to understand what the problem is and what they need to do to solve the issue.

It’s been a busy and interesting period for the service but we’re quietly confident we will pass the re-assessment and can’t wait to show the GDS assessors what we have built. It feels like a proud student taking in their homework for marking – hopefully ‘teacher’ will give us a sticker for all our hard work!


Paul Chambers
By Paul Chambers,
Product Manager at HM Land Registry