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Meet the User research team

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Today marks the return of our occasional series of videos introducing GDS teams. So far, we've introduced the Transformation team, the Finance team and the Hosting and Infrastructure team, and shone the Spotlight on procurement. Now we'd like to give you a quick look at the work of the GDS User research team.

Meet the User research team - video transcript

Jo Inskip (Customer insight manager, Government Digital Service):

One of our key roles is to support colleagues to make decisions that are founded in research and in insight.

Angela Collins-Rees (User research specialist, Government Digital Service):

Understanding the behaviour of the user and understanding what they might want from a product.

Nick Breeze (Customer insight manager, Government Digital Service):

The job is all about the user, but I guess, all our jobs are all about the user.

Kate Cook (User research specialist, Government Digital Service):

It's this end-to-end cycle about understanding what people need through to measuring success.

Where does user research come in the product cycle?

Angela Collins-Rees:

User research is very important throughout the whole product life cycle.

Kate Cook:

The GOV.UK mainstream site launched in October. We tested different areas of the site and as a result of that there were a significant amount of changes that were made. The homepage changed quite significantly; there was a lot more browse experience rather than just search.

Jo Inskip:

There's a lot of early stage research that can happen to understand your audience group before you jump into designing or building anything.

Quantity or quality?

Angela Collins-Rees:

The quantitative is really looking at a much wider piece of research, it's actually targeting very big numbers.

Nick Breeze:

What that doesn't give you is the depth of information that you get from a one-to-one interview.

Angela Collins-Rees:

With the qualitative type of research, it's more about the insight; it's more about people's behaviour, how they're using something.

Jo Inskip:

Something that we've been doing recently is about measuring people's journey through a transaction. People booking their driving test, about four or five pages into the actual transaction, everyone was dropping out. What we then understood through the work that we did was that nothing was technically going wrong. Everyone was going so far into the journey because they wanted to know how much it was going to cost. All we needed to do was to put the cost earlier in the journey.

What is guerilla testing?

Kate Cook:

Guerilla testing is really about low-cost rapid user testing. It's literally just asking people if you can have 10 minutes of their time.

Angela Collins-Rees:

Most people are very familiar with the lab-based testing sort of scenarios, but what we tend to do here is kind of go out and meet people.

Nick Breeze:

It has its advantages because it's really quick and you can go in and you can take a designer with you and you can feed it back into the teams really quickly.

Depth, insight and understanding

Jo Inskip:

Other objectives might be about depth, and about insight and about understanding. And if you need to do some work for Rural Payments [the Rural Payments Agency, RPA], and you need to understand farmers and you really need to get to know, what is a day like for a farmer? You're talking about taking a small sample of people and understanding them really, really well, getting to grips with their life. And understanding how that then links into your product.

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  1. Comment by Bex Tindle posted on

    Hi... I'd love to know more about your guerilla approach and what it actually entails. Who do you talk? How do you find them? And where are they? How long do you spend with them? How many people do you talk to per outing? When do you feel guerilla is appropriate? Can you give some examples of when it's been really useful and how it was useful? What do you do when you have several questions and need to spend more than 10 minutes? I'd love to hear more!

    • Replies to Bex Tindle>

      Comment by rebecca posted on

      Likewise- it would be great to hear more about your approach to guerilla testing!

  2. Comment by jesssle posted on

    Fascinating, thanks for sharing.