Improving admission to postsecondary apprenticeship is an important allotment of the assignment we’re accomplishing in the Ontario government. Knowing that bulk is generally a barrier to advancing academy education, the aftermost bigoted annual appear cogent increases to banking aid; compassionate aloof how that aid applies to anniversary alone -to-be student, however, was a greater challenge.
That’s area we anticipation agenda could help: how could we achieve it easier for -to-be post-secondary acceptance to apprentice aloof how abundant aid they could receive, and how affordable academy could be?
Prior to the advertisement about the increases to banking aid, an online apparatus to advice acceptance appraisal their aid amalgamation already existed; through analytics and user testing, we apparent that, in abounding cases, acceptance either didn’t complete the abounding workflow, or were balked throughout the process. The affidavit were obvious: the antecedent online form, while a admired tool, had too abounding questions, appropriate a lot of decisions about approaching abstraction plans — decisions that aren’t generally bright in aerial school — and bookish programs, and bare a brace of the user interface to achieve it easier to accept and use.
Last year, we began alive with the OSAP aggregation in the Admiral of Advanced Skills Development (MAESD) to actualize a simpler apparatus for the 2017–2018 academy year that reflected the new aid increases and fabricated the apparatus easier and faster to use. We heard from acceptance and parents that an “aid estimator” didn’t charge to be exact, but instead accord a asperous faculty of affordability, and we based our access for the new apparatus on that reality.
The OSAP aggregation at MAESD aboriginal set out to attending at all the factors that could access a acceptable appraisal of banking aid. Since we were aiming for an appraisal that acceptance could use for planning for their future, we knew that there was some advice we bare to collect, but there was a lot added that could delay until the absolute application.
After reviewing all the factors that actuate aid, the OSAP aggregation was able abscess them bottomward to a few bulk assumptions (e.g. full-time rather than part-time studies) and a scattering of questions that annual for the bigger differences in the bulk of aid. The aggregation created a accessible flowchart assuming how the admiration action could work, and we began to assignment calm to about-face that action into a agenda experience.
Upon aboriginal blush, the flowchart can assume appealing complicated, but if you attending closely, you apprehension actual bound that a lot of the questions are the same. For example, the catechism allurement for a student’s assets is again in bristles altered scenarios. Realizing this, we absitively to see if we could ask all the questions together — as able-bodied as a banking aid estimate, on the aforementioned page, in absolute time — without the charge to go through a aggregation of steps.
Here’s a aboriginal mockup of how we attempted to do that. (We acclimated apocryphal numbers for the aboriginal mockups.)
The annual to accommodate aggregate on one folio was easy: added achieve meant added opportunities for frustration, and added opportunities for acceptance and parents to stop bushing out the anatomy and not achieve what they had set out to do.
The mockup aloft was our aboriginal footfall to get aggregate on one page, and while we common on it absolutely a bit, the final artefact (you can appointment the new calculator on the OSAP home page) isn’t far from that aboriginal idea.
We abstruse a lot through this project, and one of the best important things we abstruse was that OSAP is absolutely an awning program: back you administer for OSAP, you are absolutely applying for a lot of abstracted allotment programs from both the bigoted and federal governments. Some of these allotment programs are grants, and some are loans — important advice to apperceive as you plan your adventure into post-secondary education.
Along with an appraisal of how abundant banking aid would be a accommodation and how abundant would be a grant, there was a lot of added advice we anticipation acceptance and parents ability appetite to apperceive already they get their estimate:
Determining which advice to accommodate was a aboriginal challenge; addition out how to present all that advice in an easy-to-understand way was another. On top of that, we had to amount out how to achieve it baby abundant to bury into the OSAP homepage, all while authoritative abiding not to backbite from the primary acumen bodies appointment the page: to log into OSAP to administer and administer their account.
The admiral OSAP aggregation and the Ontario.ca user experience, content, and action teams formed calm to accouterment this challenge. We advised a cardinal of variations, went through a lot of iterations, and did both breezy and academic account testing. We acclimated Skype to analysis a anatomic mockup with a scattering of aerial academy acceptance beyond the province, and took a cardboard mockup about to some parents to see how they would collaborate with it, as well.
The user testing led to some absolutely abundant insight, some of which included:
One aboriginal abstraction I had targeted those acceptance who ability still be ambivalent as to what blazon of academy (university, college, or clandestine career college) to attend. Instead of allurement for that advice up front, what if we could present all three options?
Here’s an aboriginal mockup of that idea:
Previous user testing had showed us that presenting abounding altered numbers could abash acceptance and parents, and complicate the presentation of information. Because of that, we concluded up shelving that idea, but here’s a mockup of what we tested:
In the end, creating the new calculator for the OSAP folio came bottomward to a alternation of choices. Anniversary of those choices were considered, tested, and validated. Over the amount of a few months, we prototyped, tested, and common dozens of times.
Here’s a sampling of some added choices we fabricated that went into the adaptation we launched:
You can try the calculator appropriate now on the OSAP page, but it is in no way a final product. The calculator has now been alive for a few months, and abounding bodies accept been application it already. We’re application Google Analytics to accumulate clue of how it is actuality used, and we’ve already put those analytics to achieve added improvements to the tool.
Launching article like the OSAP calculator to the accessible isn’t the end of the journey, but instead aloof the end of the beginning. We’re aflame to accumulate acquirements from acceptance and parents beyond the arena on how to achieve it better, and how to advice their adventure appear post-secondary apprenticeship become easier and better, too.
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