It’s been a while since I’ve updated you on where we are with the vehicle enquiries web service and the API development.
I’m really pleased that we’ve finished most of our background insight around the VES web service. If we stay on track, we’ll launch the new look service in the New Year.
You may have noticed a change to the data set provided through VES recently. We decided to remove the precise date of first registration, only giving the month and year. We have identified that this will better protect the privacy of those who may be associated with specific vehicles. This was all done as a result of research which we carried out using publicly available data.
Over the past six months we’ve been working to understand customer needs and define the requirements for the API development. We should have a solution ready to trial in private beta by early 2017.
We’ve selected a handful of customers who will trial it for us. I’ve also had a number of expressions of interest from others wanting to develop mobile apps and improve their business processes.
We recently met with Dan Butterworth (a User Experience designer) and colleagues at GDS. We wanted feedback on the new design and content changes which we plan to make to VES and to define our accessibility testing options. Special thanks to Jon Sanger for organising the visit and to Angela Collins (from the accessibility team) who gave us some excellent advice.
We’re working on the suggestions made by GDS and we’re hoping to provide the new service into live and undergo an assessment by late 2017.
What we’re doing
Here’s what Dan had to say...
“VES is an interesting service to improve because it has many uses for a lot of different people, including businesses. Understanding the user's needs is important to continuously improving the service.
We identified that there was simply too much information on the page, so the challenge was to break up the information into more manageable chunks. Breaking things up into tabs would make accessing important information a little easier for users. This pattern has proven to be successful from our user insight sessions.
We’re also hoping to provide the ability to view standard vehicle tax rates, which will be specific to the vehicle. This will be another piece of vital information when the new vehicle tax rates come into effect from April 2017. All in all, I believe that the VES service is shaping up nicely - even if I do say so myself!”
So what else is in the pipeline? I’ll be looking at some of our other services in the next 12 months, specifically around KADOE (keeper at date of event) which is used in congestion charging and other enquiries. I'll also be looking at the web enabled enquiries (WEE) which allows local authorities to get registered keeper details to identify abandoned vehicles.
I’ll also be working with the business to update and deliver improvements for our customers. Digitising some services is going to be a challenge, but it is all made worth it when I am reminded of the benefits it can bring for all my customers and stakeholders.