Does this website look broken? I’m redesigning in the open!

WhatDoTheyKnow Pro

I lead the design and user experience of WhatDoTheyKnow Pro, a brand new service, and paid for enhancement built on top of WhatDoTheyKnow, mySociety's ever-popular Freedom of Information request service.

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WhatDoTheyKnow Pro

The Pro version was a chance to trial several often requested features, such as private requests, making requests in bulk to many authorities at a time, and some light case management tool to assist requesters in manage many requests at a time. We worked with two embedded journalists, who acted as our researcher subjects, testers and general sounding board.

Because of the public nature of the site, and the risk of abuse, we decided to run the site as a private beta while we ironed out the issues, eventually choosing a Software as a Service model, with a pricing structure designed to appeal to journalists, academic researchers and power users.

Part of the product strategy was to build in controls around the tools, as they were powerful and could be used nefariously in the wrong hands. So site administrators are alerted when certain rates are exceeded or when a pro users behaviour seems out of the ordinary.

For the look and feel it was important that the site didn’t feel alien, so we tried to push the established WhatDoTheyKnow brand into a more conservative space, importantly giving the ability to tell at a glance when the user is working in private or in the public.

The site, now live and with many paying customers continues to be behind some of the biggest stories in the press regarding the conduct of public sector organisations.