Involve the team in research

Everyone in the service team should be involved in watching and analysing research with real users.

Involving team members in research helps them to develop empathy for users. For this reason, we recommend doing research yourself rather than outsourcing it. Ideally, involve each of your team members for at least 2 hours every 6 weeks.

This research can be any activity in which they observe and listen to users, including:

  • interviews
  • home or workplace visits
  • lab-based usability tests


Meeting the Digital Service Standard

The whole team should be involved in user research to meet the following criteria:

The Digital Service Standard guides teams to build services that are simpler, clearer and faster.

User research is everyone’s job

The user experience is the responsibility of everyone in the team.

Participation in user research helps your team:

  • understand what people experience when using your service
  • learn the language that people use when talking about your service
  • understand real user needs from the point of view of the user
  • understand their contribution to improving the user experience
  • develop empathy for the users of the service
  • understand how users perceive technology
  • learn about ways users overcome issues with the service
  • communicate powerful evidence for change
  • have a point of reference when making decisions

Team members who observe research should take part in analysis sessions to help agree on the findings and any resulting actions.

User researchers should also work closely with the rest of the team on design decisions and prototypes.

Engaging with users somehow is better than not at all

It can be difficult to find time for research. Also, it's not always possible to get out in the field.

Some teams include research as part of their performance management so they can make time for it and measure it.

Usability testing in a lab can be a great opportunity for people to watch users in action.

You may need to live stream video of research sessions if you think team members might feel confronted by user feedback. But at some point, team members should observe users in person.