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HMRC's new Agent screen layout...whose stupid idea

I've tried.. I've really tried but I cant cope with it - its horrible!

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Previously everything was there in one place, you could quickly go from one year to another 

I know the use of large letters is now HMRC standard but as someone who uses a laptop for all work I'm taking ages to scroll down to find what I need

I bet you anything that no agent was consulted as to the information required, layout etc

Anyone know the name and contact number of whoever is the head of computer graphics at HMRC so I can have a shout at him/her?

EDIT>>> sorry... so upset made a typo ..amended

Replies (19)

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
22nd Aug 2019 09:54

its a real dogs dinner isn't it?

Putting the links down the right hand side for example is a massive blunder given links are always on the top or on the left.

Usability declines yet again, a process which if you recall has gradually been happening for years as the previously quite decent layouts have been destroyed in the move to the shoddy .gov site.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
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By Mr_awol
22nd Aug 2019 12:24

ireallyshouldknowthisbut wrote:

Putting the links down the right hand side for example is a massive blunder given links are always on the top or on the left.

I agree - although as per my other post on this thread there is a general trend away form what we would call 'user-friendly'.

BBC website has links along the top but as you read stories there are links to more down the right. Same for this website. I dare say some university lecturer five to ten years ago told his students it was a better way and now we are suffering the consequences.

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By bernard michael
22nd Aug 2019 10:16

What I can't understand is :- Software developers aren't thick so why have they produced this total piece of ****, whihc is not what the user market wants.

Are we next going to get it in Braille

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Replying to bernard michael:
Lone Wolf
By Lone_Wolf
22nd Aug 2019 11:14

bernard michael wrote:

What I can't understand is :- Software developers aren't thick so why have they produced this total piece of ****, whihc is not what the user market wants.

Are we next going to get it in Braille


Call me cynical, but by producing the crap HMRC have asked for, there is then the opportunity for more fees to be earned from sorting that very same crap. Sorting all the problems for the launch of Website 1.0 is hardly as profitable as producing Website 1.0, and then sorting it with multiple updated versions.
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By johnt27
22nd Aug 2019 11:19

Not only that - but which Agent Services bit are you talking about? Multiple log in pages leading to randomly different things - MTD ASA, old school agent pages, user management.

None of it particularly navigable and just adds more confusion when trying to deal with HMRC

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By Mr_awol
22nd Aug 2019 12:16

Most, if not all websites are going this way - horrible layouts, huge text and impractical navigation seem to be on the syllabus at website development school these days.

All websites should be made as CBEEBIES as possible it seems.

Let's not forget that the very website/forum we are having this discussion on used to be a hell of a lot better before some idiot (possibly the same one(s) responsible for the new look HMRC site) came along and trashed it.

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Replying to Mr_awol:
By SteLacca
22nd Aug 2019 13:25

It's a consequence of serving sites for mobile content and desktop, and the developers being too bone idle to create separate layouts for each.

It's easy enough for them to check which to serve.

But no, they develop for mobile and bung the same on the desktop.

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By Paul D Utherone
22nd Aug 2019 13:38

There are a number of threads on the HMRC / Agent forum about this change. No one likes it.

They say:
"...thanks for your post relating to the services now provided on the Multi-Channel Digital Tax Platform.
Most customer access to these services is either through Personal Tax Account (PTA) or the Business Tax Account (BTA) or the various options available to Agents.
Those services have been developed, with the blue ‘look and feel’, to operate to the more up to date Government Digital Services (GDS) standards. Having screens with different ‘look and feel’ results in a disjointed user journey.
Benefits of the change
• Improved ‘look and feel’ giving the customer a more consistent journey.
• Improvements to the way the application renders on mobile devices, giving customers better flexibility in how they interact with us.
• Flexibility to adopt a phased approach increasing (and reducing) traffic quickly responding to customer feedback.

However we do take on board that not all customers will embrace this change or like it but we are sure that through time it will be a lot easier to find the information you require and also ensure that you have completed each step in the journey that is required.
In the meantime I have passed on your feedback to the team involved in the creation of these pages. "

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Replying to Paul D Utherone:
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
22nd Aug 2019 16:48

Anyone who uses the words "customers" and "journey" are instantly marking themselves out as out of touch incompetents in a bubble of their own, no doubt looking down and sneering at mere users pointing out its a towering pile of the brown stuff.

None of us are customers. This suggests we have some sort of a choice about using HMRC to pay out taxes.

"Journeys" are pretentious nonsense. Its just management babble.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
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By johnhemming
22nd Aug 2019 18:44

The idea of a "journey" is that people make their way through a number of different pages of a website potentially doing things on each page. I did very little programming from 2004 through to 2015 and the word was not really around in 2004. However, I don't think it is a bad word to use to describe this.

Do you have a better word for this?

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Replying to Paul D Utherone:
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By GW
23rd Aug 2019 10:38

Paul D Utherone wrote:

Those services have been developed, with the blue ‘look and feel’, to operate to the more up to date Government Digital Services (GDS) standards. "

It is a pity they ignored the first point of the GDS standard:

1. Understand users and their needs

How many agents run their practice from a mobile device?

This is the trouble when consistency is valued more than ease of use

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Replying to GW:
By Paul D Utherone
23rd Aug 2019 11:01

I presume it means that they can run a standard page template across all access points.

If you can manage to get Gov.Uk pages to view at around 65% it gets a little easier, but as before (and don't shoot the messenger) every agent who has to try to use it hates it, but HMRC's general response is "tough, get used to it"

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Jennifer Adams
By Jennifer Adams
22nd Aug 2019 14:14

Thx for info Paul.. so in other words... rather akin to Accweb... (and I'm being polite here.)..HMRC's reaction is 'Tough - we want it that way and that's the way its going to stay'
Do you think I've got that right?

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Replying to Jennifer Adams:
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By Mr_awol
22nd Aug 2019 17:06

Looks spot on to me. Although I don't think you've displayed enough contempt in your example. One of the downsides of keeping it polite I guess.

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Replying to Jennifer Adams:
By Paul D Utherone
23rd Aug 2019 11:03

That's about the size of it, yes. I presume it just allows them to operate a common base page template when developing different access points.

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By Jholm
22nd Aug 2019 17:12

It reminds me of how websites used to look when you went on the internet on a Nokia 3310.

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By spilly
22nd Aug 2019 22:38

Note that the word used is ‘developed’ and not ‘designed’.
I strongly suspect that no one with any graphic design qualification has been involved in this revamp.

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By busacrun
23rd Aug 2019 10:19

Looks like the work experience placements had a busy couple of weeks!

who on earth reviews and signs these changes off, clearly not someone who has the need to use them

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Jennifer Adams
By Jennifer Adams
23rd Aug 2019 15:47

Thought you'd be interested in this that has just come through from ATT:

Changes to HMRC Agents Page

"A number of agents reported some (unwelcome) changes to the self-assessment information provided on the original HMRC Online Services (i.e. not the new Agent Services Account). Under ‘view account’, details of surcharges, interest, penalties, payments / credits received and repayments were no longer available for some clients. The functionality now seems to have been reinstated, although the display has changed in order to comply with GDS standards.
We are currently speaking to HMRC about why this was not notified to / trialled with agents.

well... I suppose someone is trying to do something!

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