User needs at the core of public services.

I worked at the UK Government’s Digital Services Department (GDS) as part of the User Research team, where I had the chance to look after the Department’s core product, GOV.UK

The site is the UK Government's official website, it contains all information about the central Government and provides access to public services. 

User Research is at the core of the development of GOV.UK. By following the agile principles, the team maintained a backlog of aspects of the site to be tested with users. As a researcher I was in charge of planning and executing the research activities, analysing the results and sharing the insights with the product team. 

The main challenge was definitely the speed at which this had to happen. Usually the team worked over two weeks sprints so any research activity had to take place and be ready to share within this timeframe. The key for me was to define very clearly the scope of the research, because it was easier to highlight the insights if I focused on certain aspects at a time. 

It was also very useful to have the whole team involved in the research across all phases, from planning to taking notes on testing day, so that everyone was on the same page with the user needs. 

During my time at GDS I also worked on these projects:

▪ A research on how people in the government and people dealing with the government use digital documents
▪ Agile testing of the new Identity and Assurance service