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2. Our services are designed to meet the users' needs

Two people working on a Smart Hub
Two colleagues looking at the same laptop

How we’re getting with the times

Many government policies were not designed for the internet era. Most were written pre-internet and don’t reflect the expectations of our users today, such as the ongoing need for wet signatures defined in legislation from the 1990s.

However, this should not stop us from changing the way we do things.

To design services which do the hard work, so our users don’t have to, we must first understand the needs of our users. Not just in the Digital Directorate but across our whole organisation and beyond.

Digital transformation means designing services based on user needs, making it easier for the citizen to do what they need to do, and reducing the cost for Government to provide those services.

Our users come first

Over the last 3 years, we’ve made significant progress towards becoming a user-centred organisation. We’ve established user research and service design roles and practices, followed by the creation of professional leads for these roles at a senior level.

We’ll take a holistic view and strategic approach, identifying commonalities of user needs across services. We will work across our organisation to share insight and research, making sure that our services are aligned wherever possible - putting the user at the centre of it all.

We have good practices in place to support a user focus, to allow visibility of user insight across the Digital Directorate and to those closely involved. This includes the sharing of user research videos, participation in user research by all team members and high visibility of user feedback.

In 2019, we launched our 'accessibility (a11y) lab'. This allows us to make sure that all of our people can view the services that we build through the eyes of those with a11y needs. This allows us to build accessibly.

However, there’s more to do to truly embed this across the organisation and make sure that everyone has true empathy and understanding of our users’ needs.

We’ll achieve this by rolling out these improvements:

1. Running an introduction to user-centred design programme

Everyone who works on digital services will complete the introduction regardless of their role and pay grade.
We’ll also invite all leaders across our organisation to take part. This will give them a greater appreciation of the need for a user-centred approach. The outcome of this will be an increased understanding of the importance of user-centred design and how this can be applied in a variety of scenarios.

2. Making user research insights more accessible and visible

We’ll share insight in a structured way. Each quarter the Senior Leadership Team will take part in a ‘Show and Tell’ on insights gained from user research across our services.

3. User research is a team sport, and we will measure it

All team members who work on digital services will take part in 2 hours of user research every 6 weeks. Members of the Leadership Team will also be encouraged to take part.

4. Measuring how we are meeting our users’ needs

User needs are a key metric for success. Each service will begin by understanding user intention. Each service will have a set of behavioural personas, with clear measurements indicating success for the user. These will form the baseline of how we are performing in the eyes of our users.

5. Working across government organisations

This will help to create an extended community to share and solve problems.

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