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MOT reminders: the journey so far

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Service design, User research

Our MOT reminder service has just passed its beta service assessment and we’ve already had more than 200,000 users sign up.

As the name suggests, this service gives motorists a reminder when their MOT is due - either by text or email. We want to help you keep your vehicle safe to drive and this service should help by making sure more people get their MOT on time.

Why we developed the service

In the past, we’ve tended to just focus on garages delivering the MOT. These garages are a really important part of the MOT, but only looking at their experience meant we didn’t fully understand how getting an MOT works for motorists.

We started our research by looking at how many cars are late for their MOT and why. We found that around 28% of cars were late for their MOT, and of these, the failure rate was 8% higher than average. This meant that not only are they breaking the law but that their vehicles are in worse condition – so more likely to cause or contribute to an accident.

We also found that around three-quarters of those who were late were just down to forgetfulness. This showed that a reminder would be useful for a lot of people. 

What people want from a reminder service

After understanding ‘why’, we then needed to look at what people wanted from the service.

One thing we discovered was that more people than just the car owner were interested in getting reminders. From parents who were interested in their children’s cars, carers who couldn’t drive themselves, to garages who wanted to help their customers; there was a wide variety of people who wanted a reminder.

This meant we needed to allow cars to get multiple reminders and make it so anyone can get a reminder on any car.

The next big question was how to send the reminder. We decided to use GOV.UK Notify to send the reminders as we knew it was reliable, allowed us some flexibility in messaging, and the cost-per-message was very competitive. GOV.UK Notify allowed us to send text messages, emails or letters, but what did our users want?

We found that most users were fairly balanced between wanting an email or a text message so we decided we needed to be able to do both. While we did find some users who would prefer a paper reminder, we didn’t find any that couldn’t access the digital channels.

All this research then fed into the private beta version of the service. This private beta allowed us to test the service with a smaller number of users before it was ready for the public to use. We rapidly gained more users than we expected - over 100,000 users in private beta. This was much more than we expected, but it did show that users could use the service!

Keeping you safe on Britain's roads

Now the service is in the public beta stage, which means it's ready for the public to use. We’ve had over 200,000 people sign up for an MOT reminder and we expect that to grow as more motorists find out about the service.

It’s still early, but the data we’ve got already looks promising. The data shows that people that have signed up for reminders are now more likely to get their MOT on time than in the past.

This is fantastic news, as it means our roads are safer already. We’ll continue to look at this data and look at how we can improve the service.

What we learnt

By approaching the problem in a systematic way and using insight, user research and data analysis to understand the issue, we’ve built a service which is simple to use, cheap to operate and meets real user needs.

We also learnt that if a service works well and meets a need, it will be used, as shown by the number of people who’ve already signed up.  

Get an MOT reminder

If you haven’t signed up to get an MOT reminder, please do so. It'll help you and other road users stay safe on Britain’s roads. All you need is your vehicle’s registration number and your e-mail or phone number.

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