Design, Technology, and Innovation Projects
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Designing and prototyping the new foster application

After we identified opportunities for a new foster application, we created a prototype. This involved three main activities.

  1. Visiting our Austin Animal Center collaborators to review work for feedback at each milestone. An image of 2 women looking at post it notes on a board

  2. Writing new questions and help text that would be more understandable and informative for applicants.

For example, the current application has an open ended question about experience that applicants needed guidance to answer, and were afraid they would be disqualified if they didn’t have enough experience. We rewrote the question to have applicants choose from answer options, used help text to state they would not be disqualified, and gave the option to add more information if they wish to elaborate. Picture of form before and after being rewritten to include clearer language

  1. We also created a new application design that shows applicants only the questions and information relevant to them.

For example, the current application has a page that shows information blocks for six animals, regardless of how many, if any, animals the applicant has. It also asks for the same information for all animals, which confused applicants with, for example, animals without a ‘breed’ like a cat. So we changed the question to ask first if they have any animals, and if they don’t, they see no other pet related questions. If they do, questions appear asking if they have dogs, cats, or other animals, and based on those answers new relevant questions appear. Picture of new design elements making form easier to use

Another example is with help text - in testing the existing application, we found many areas where applicants needed more clarification. But these were usually related to only people answering the question in a certain way. So we added alerts that display only when relevant to applicants. Image of helper text showing in a yellow box

The next step is to test the prototype with representative users.

If you have questions, contact julia.byron@austintexas.gov or amenity.applewhite@austintexas.gov.