Prison visit booking service

Whilst at the Ministry of Justice one of the key projects I’ve worked on is the online service to allow people to book visits to see their friends and relatives who are currently serving time in prisons across England and Wales. There was considerable room to improve the user experience since, prior to our service launching, people were often waiting for hours to get through to unreliable booking phone lines or having to remember to book their next visit whilst on their current one.

I worked as part of a multidisciplinary team that was led by a product manager, supported by a delivery manager and featured a researcher, content designer, technical architect and developers. The project began with a discovery phase that saw us visit prisons across England to meet prison staff, visitors and prisoners too. This gave us invaluable insight into the users of the service, both public and internal to the MoJ, and we then started to concept and prototype ideas that were then taken into the Alpha phase.

During this phase we tested the prototypes of the service extensively in several prisons and iterated it each time based on the feedback. After passing the GDS Alpha assessment we began trialling the service as a public beta in more prisons, repeating the cycle of test and iterate until we were ready to have the live assessment and roll the service out to the majority of prisons.

User flow of prison visit booking

Earliest version of first screen

Early date picker design

Alternative date picker design - alpha phase

User testing example

Alpha phase date picker

Prison selection details

Current date picker

Responsive version