Keeping it clean Power up the tablet and open the app. There is no clutter. All the screen shows is your appointments for today and tomorrow, the address of each client and a warning triangle against any difficult cases.

This is the new ContrOCC Remote Financial Assessments app. Designed for financial assessment officers and social workers, ContrOCC Remote is the tablet version of the ContrOCC laptop application first developed by OCC more than 10 years ago. ContrOCC Remote, which can be used on or offline, enables the user to manage appointments, record details of clients’ income and expenditure, assess eligibility for benefits and sync with office systems back at HQ, all using just a few screens.

Designing a clean and simple user interface for an app like this may sound easy but it was arrived at through detailed user research. OCC designers observed how users interacted with the existing laptop app and recorded where they found difficulties – for example, when they didn’t understand where to go next. This enabled the design team to break down in detail the exact steps users take to achieve their goals when using the software. The team then collected a wide range of images to create an inspiration board that allowed users to visualise and improve the look and feel of the new interface.

This research was accompanied by surveys of the client and users. They were asked what the software should do to allow them to effectively fulfil their tasks of undertaking an assessment, capturing supporting documentation and recording digital signatures, while reducing paper and back office overheads.

Many local authorities will now be able to take advantage of the improved workflow and productivity gains of the redesigned app.