We have recently revamped the jobs and volunteer section on our website with a focus on user needs and user goals.

Initially, we started with a name change for the section, from recruitment to jobs and volunteering.

This is because user testing shows that visitors are constantly looking for specific keywords to help them meet their goals.

Recruitment is commonly used internally in the organisation, but jobs and volunteering are the buzzwords for our users – the public.

The reshuffle of the jobs and volunteer section was about ensuring those visiting the website achieved their goal with the best journey possible.

The two user goals

The restructure of the recruitment section had one main aim – to make sure each user who came to the website achieved their goal.

We looked at the types of goals visitors might have and identified two categories and, therefore, two user journeys.

The first user group are those who are already set on joining the force and want to apply for a job.

The second user group are those who are uncertain. This second user group needs more information about what types of roles there are or want to find out the benefits of joining the force.

Both journeys are important and both deserve to have a good experience on the website. By separating the two journeys, each user group can achieve their goals in a more tailored experience for their needs.

Raising the standard

When looking at the content within the recruitment section, we noticed the job role with the most information was the Police Officer.

We used this as a benchmark for the other roles, such as Police Community Support Officer, and worked to build up the information available for users. Each section now has a similar feel and flow to it, ensuring consistency for the user.

This has also allowed us to bring in new features, including a section on types of non-policing roles and volunteer roles which exist but might not yet be available.

This gives users a chance to see where their skills can be applied in the future and encourages them to come back and check when it is available.

Choose your words carefully

To create a smooth user experience, we put the wording within titles under the microscope.

Where content had changed over the years, the titles and subheadings did not give an accurate portrayal of what the user would find on the page, which, once opened, would give a negative user experience.

Paired with market research and user testing, we crafted carefully chosen sentences to make sure the user knew exactly what to expect.

The key aspect of the titles is to focus on words the user is expecting to see. This can be a complicated balance of branding and universal terminology.

Because we advocate for our users, which are the public, we settle in favour of commonly used words so that users can pick out the words they are familiar with.

We used quick, punchy titles which held a ‘does what it says on the tin’ aspect to them.

Keeping it simple is the best way to promote good user experience.

We now break down into clear sections such as “what you need”, “what we offer” and “hear from our people”. Even without the extra content below the titles, users know what to expect.

Apply, apply, apply

A lot of what has been spoken about so far caters to the second user group, the uncertain ones.

For the first user group, the ones who want to join, we have stripped away all the delays of clicking through different sections to find how to apply for the role the user wanted. This has been changed to a very quick-to-access ‘view vacancies and apply’ page.

By taking away the barriers, users will have a more efficient journey to completing their goal.

Tracking the outcome

The most significant change we found after reorganising the content and categories was a 183% increase in views to the Police Staff pages. The addition of a new page that gives examples of police staff roles contributed to this.

There was a 42% rise in views to the PCSO pages while the PCSO recruitment was closed. We will also measure the difference when recruitment is open again in the future.

Views to the Cadet pages increased by 142%, Volunteer pages by 64% and Special pages by 24%.

Further enhancements

We are in the process of setting up a ‘register your interest’ form for people to hear about the upcoming Police Officer and Police Community Support Officer recruitment campaigns.

Once this has been rolled out, we will be looking at producing a similar one for volunteer roles.

The recruitment section, as with the rest of the website, is a constantly evolving product – there is always work to do and ways to improve.

By looking at the analytics and the behaviour of our users, we can continually adapt the website to what it needs to be to create the best possible experience for visitors.