This week I helped somebody to register with Universal Jobmatch. Universal Jobmatch is the online service where you can search and apply for jobs and if you create an account this enables you to allow DWP (ie. the Jobcentre) to see your job seeking activity. We were only able to register on the site because I have been working with computers and the internet for years and I am au fait with registration processes online.
The current system is almost impossible to use if:
- your literacy skills are low
- you are underconfident in using computers
- you do not have easy access to a computer or laptop
I registered someone this week and once the account was created I said ‘do you have a smartphone?’ This person did. So I said ‘great, let’s download the Universal Jobmatch app as I know you don’t have access to a computer at home’. I went on the app store (she had an iPhone) – there is no app. A bit disappointing. My next move, however, was to try and look up the site on her phone with her so that she could be searching for and applying for jobs on her phone when she got home. To my horror, the Universal Jobmatch site does not have a mobile version. This blog you are reading this on does – if you’re reading this on a phone it should be easy to read and navigate. Why on earth doesn’t the Universal Jobmatch site have a mobile version given that the vast majority of job seekers on benefits do not have a PC but do have a smartphone?
I wanted to reproduce the process here to highlight how important it is that this essential service is overhauled to become as user friendly as other government websites such as NHS Choices.
This was a tiresome process for someone with good computer skills like mine. It feels almost as if this system was created deliberately to put people off wanting to search for work. If the government want to encourage people into work the very least they could do and, for not very much money, would be to create a more user-friendly website in plain English that includes a mobile version.
Here are a series of screenshots from my Nokia Lumia phone showing how I tried to register with Universal Jobmatch on a phone.
Step 1: Google ‘Universal Jobmatch’ and navigate to the site
So far, so good, nice clear mobile site.
Step 2: Login to register
Note that the ‘new user, register here’ button is obscured. I managed to click on it which took me to:
Note here that there is no reference to Universal Jobmatch but I realised that I needed to create a Government Gateway account. Also note that it is a very bare bones registration page that is not friendly at all, very much in computer-speak.
Step 3: Register with Government Gateway
You have to jot down this almost impossible to remember number as there seems to be no way of retrieving it again easily after you navigate away from this page. It is really unclear what this number is or what you need it for.
Step 4: verify your account
After creating your Government Gateway account you must click on a link in an email sent to you. This is the email I received after registering verbatim:
You recently specified an email address to be verified against your Government Gateway account. In order to complete the email verification process, please click on the link below or paste the link into your browser address bar. The verification link will expire on 05/09/2015 09:13.
If you do not complete your email verification before the verification link expires, you will need to login to the Government Gateway, go to the Your account section and re-request verification of your email address.https://myaccount.gateway.gov.uk/Pages/EmailVerification/Activate.aspx?gwv=1.0&gwrealm=urn:TransformingLabourMarketServices&gwlang=en-GB&gwtheme=directgov&gwreply=http://jobsearch.direct.gov.uk&code=2A85392754A24E17ADD8068418C0FD84
If you did not register for a new Government Gateway account or request verification of the email address associated with your existing Government Gateway account, please click on the link below or paste the link into your browser address bar. The verification removal link will expire on 05/09/2015 09:13.
This is an automatically generated email. Please do not reply as the email address is not monitored for received mail.
To someone who doesn’t generally use the internet, this reads like gobbledegook. Because I have registered on numerous sites, I knew to click on the first link. I knew that if I didn’t I wouldn’t be able to login to Universal Jobmatch. Would you have known that?
Step 5: Login to Universal Jobmatch
So to login I needed my Government Gateway User ID or GG number (as it had been described) – so I typed this in along with the complex 8 character password I had created. Then I clicked on login after pinching the screen so that I could read it clearly.
This was the next page:
I almost lost the will to live trying to complete this form having to pinch the screen so that I could see the boxes to type in my details.
I call for DWP to overhaul this website as a matter of urgency to enable people to find and get work. Currently the cards are stacked very much against those who are motivated to find work, let alone those who need to be encouraged.