‘It’s a right pain to take a screenshot’
In alpha, the Sport Wales grants service team evaluated 4 prototypes with participants who had previously applied for community sport funding – here’s what they found out
27 May 2022
Sport Wales (SW) and CDPS are working on an Agile project to increase the reach and impact of SW community grants by improving the organisation’s digital application service.
Following a discovery phase, Sport Wales and CDPS continued to work together on a 12-week alpha phase, which finished in mid-January 2022 – this blog post presents the findings from that phase.
As the alpha team sized the work, the development team realised we could not meet the original scope. We agreed with the project sponsors, Sport Wales and CDPS, to concentrate on:
- working with the Sport Wales digital communications team to understand how users navigate to the grants section on the Sport Wales website
- working with the partner relations team to understand the reach of their national partners, who help to make sport in Wales more inclusive
- understanding the technical possibilities of the current system and, if possible, research the market for options
- designing, testing and iterating prototypes that covered most of the application process
Digital skills scale
We evaluated 4 prototypes in 15 sessions with participants who had previously applied for Sport Wales community investments or grants. We learned that:
- low digital skills are a barrier to applying – specifically, to completing the complicated set of questions that form the application process
- participants were clustered at the opposite ends of the digital skills scale – high and low – but more heavily weighted towards the lower end
- applicants related to local authorities as what the alpha team described as ‘mysterious strangers’ or ‘close friends’ – participants either could not see why they would need to discuss an application with them or relied on their help every time
- organisations without physical location struggle to answer location, local authority and address questions
- participants liked that Sport Wales reacted quickly to emergencies, like flooding and the COVID-19 pandemic, with new grants that allowed sporting activity to continue
- users of the Be Active Wales Fund – Sport Wales’s community sport fund – were happy to help Sport Wales improve the grants process
The development team presented the alpha findings and recommendations to Sport Wales in January, alongside a proposal for the next stage.
The team are now in an extended, 14-week alpha phase (which we’re calling ‘alpha+’) to design and test an end-to-end grant application process. This will also include testing back-office processes to see if they are better suited to the needs of users and Sport Wales.
Found a grants service that works – digital or otherwise? Tell us in the comments below. And if you’re a sporting body that would like to get involved in Sport Wales service development, drop us an email