CRA and TBS collaborate to optimize GST/HST and Payroll webpage content
Guest post by our optimization partners from the Canada Revenue Agency
The web, communications, and program teams at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) have been working closely with the Digital Transformation Office (DTO) from the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) to make tax information on Canada.ca easier for small business owners to find, understand and use.
We’ve been working on web content for the following core tasks that Canadians must accomplish when setting up a new business:
Determining if it’s necessary to charge GST
Setting up a GST account
Determining if a payroll account is required
Setting up a payroll account
Following our first round of baseline usability testing, we realized just how complex our web content was. Sometimes, people found what they were looking for, but couldn’t understand the information. This meant that ultimately, they couldn’t complete the task they were trying to accomplish.
We set out to optimize these top tasks with the DTO and key CRA program areas:
Public Affairs Branch
Assessment and Benefit Services Branch
Legislative Policy and Regulatory Affairs
The aim was to improve findability, clarity of the language used, success rates, and completion time of top tasks for payroll and GST/HST topics.
Our process included discovery, research and baseline usability testing that we conducted with the DTO on the existing Canada.ca web content. Through this, we were able to identify top GST/HST and payroll-related tasks that we needed to improve.
Our baseline testing revealed several usability issues that resulted in task failure, such as:
complicated or technical jargon and wording
long, complex, difficult to understand pages that slowed people down, or prevented them from finding important details
complex headings and content sequencing issues
unclear navigation paths which led to task failure
long, unstructured lists of links
unclear calls to action
missing key terms in labels and descriptions
People were spending too much time looking for the information they needed. They weren’t able to complete their tasks because the content was difficult to understand once they found it… if they found it! Often links were not descriptive enough and people had to read over content 2-3 times to understand it. Many people clicked on incorrect links and wasted valuable time — time they could be using to grow their businesses.
This video notes the observations and interactions with the initial GST/HST and Payroll web content from usability participants during baseline testing: