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We’re stoked to hear that MyTVH won Digital Innovation of the Year at HouseParty yesterday. We’ve been working with Jayne Hilditch and the team at Thames Valley Housing Association over the past year to create a user-centered customer service platform for TVH’s residents.

“MyTVH is Thames Valley’s online customer services platform. It’s not a big vendor out of the box, one-size-fits-no-one solution. Nor is it a simple data slice that gets published on the website behind a basic log in. It’s a proper bit of good digital service design.” Jayne Hilditch

We launched the beta in February, and the feedback from the residents has been great.

At the beginning of the project Alex and Duncan spent time working with TVH and their residents to define what the users needed from the service. The platform allows users to view the current status of their account as well as all historical transactions. Residents can also book repairs to their property or communal spaces and track them through every stage of the process. As you would expect from us, the site is responsive throughout to make it mobile and tablet friendly. We’ve been backed up by our users in this, seeing 45% of traffic coming from a diverse range of devices.

mytvh_accounts_page

We also spent quite a bit of time at the start of the project getting to grips with TVH’s existing IT. Like most organisations, they have lots of systems — some quite new, others not — that support their work. MyTVH needed to integrate with lots of them in order to be a workable service, which presented a significant challenge. Fortunately, TVH have an in-house technical team who understand these systems very well, and who have worked with us very closely throughout the project.They’ve put a lot of time into improvements to their infrastructure to help us get data out of it, and we’ve built a separate middleware layer that does the heavy loading, allowing MyTVH to consume a clean RESTful API. This separation of layers helps us to make sure that MyTVH remains clean, well-engineered and maintainable. And the RESTful API could be used by other services that TVH build in the future.

We love projects like this: user-led design with feedback from real residents letting us build a system that improves their access to help, support and information from Thames Valley. But we’re not done with the project: it’s going to keep getting better as we iterate over the next couple of years.

Our users will keep challenging us to build the best we can for them, and we’re excited to keep meeting that challenge.

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