Time for a Facelift: Renewal Express


Renewal Express, Utah's trusty old eGovernment application, is a good system with lots of great features. For example, the way it helps users locate information on paper forms with pictures tied to actual form entry boxes is Web-GUI magic. I also think the way it lets you print out temporary certificates is very nice. With tens of thousands of user's per year, its Utah's premiere eGovernment application. Even so, Renewal Express is in need of a facelift. I had to renew my wife's car today and I could tell it was showing its age. Because its so heavily used and so popular, Renewal Express deserves some attention every year or so to keep it fresh. Here's a few points that bear review:

  • First of all, it was slow---real slow. Admittedly, I'm renewing at the busiest time of the month, but so's everyone else! Good user experience demands enough capacity to service the peaks. I don't think it was just my connection since other sites, like Utah.gov, loaded fine.
  • There's far too many clicks. Confirmation screens that could be combined with the information gathering screen that follows. Admittedly, there's some design discretion here, but I think one, or even two, steps could be removed from the five step process making it slicker and easier to use.
  • This is a nit, but why isn't UT pre-selected on the form that asks for my address information? Five characters in the form code would do it. I do believe that most people registering cars in Utah live here too.
  • Even more to the point, since the application already has my registration information, why not pre-fill the form with it and let me change anything that's not right? For most people, the billing and registration address will be the same.
  • Two words: "content management." The look and feel should follow the look and feel of the Utah.gov site. Right now it incorporates the old style headers and has some funky dark blue background. I know this is heresy, but a little attention to content management would make this task infinitely easier.
  • Get rid of the "Do not press COMPLETE more than once" verbiage and program the application right so that that isn't an issue.

A thorough design review would undoubtedly catch more than this. These are just the things I noticed as I was going through the application as a user. First step ought to be to randomly poll users on the completion screen and ask for their feedback and comments. I'm sure there would be some great ideas.