Own the whole user experience

A service may have multiple products built by different teams — you need a service manager who understands and owns the whole user experience across all products.

We know people struggle to get things done with government because services are disconnected. This means we need to work across government to do the hard work to make it simple for users.

Instead of expecting people to know how government is structured, we need to look at the user experience and understand how they get from point A to point B.

This includes the products and touchpoints owned by other parts of government.

To get a task done, a user might need to deal with different parts of government or third-party suppliers. To build the right service we need a senior service manager who can take responsibility for the whole user experience.

Government services and products

Services are a group of transactions, activities or information that help someone do something, like being able to drive, buy a house or become a teacher. 

When people use commercial services, they choose a service that meets their needs. Government services are different. The user doesn’t get to shop around, their only option is to use the service government designs. This is why it’s important to design government services that are simple and easy to understand.

Services use products

A service is made up of a series of smaller products designed to meet user needs.

For example, to help a user meet their goal of being able to drive, a service might include these products:

  • details on what you need to learn to drive — an information product
  • an online driving knowledge test — a web application product
  • booking a driving test — a calendar booking product
  • getting a driving license — a process that creates a physical card
  • paying your annual fee — an online payment product
If products are owned by different parts of government that are working in different ways, it can make it harder for the user to do what they need to do. This is why we need service managers that own the whole experience.

User experience and user journeys

A user journey is the series of processes and touchpoints the user goes through to complete the service. Different users go through similar user journeys but may have completely different experiences.

For example, a user who doesn’t have a stable internet connection may have a bad experience trying to complete the service. Another user may go through a similar journey with a good connection and have a good user experience.

Owning the whole user experience means you try to create a good experience for all users and all journeys.

Service manager role

Every service needs a single service manager that owns the whole experience for the user. 

Service managers are experienced leaders with a strong understanding of their service and its users. Service managers:

  • represent their service at all agency levels
  • work to make sure the service is delivered successfully and meets user needs
  • have the decision-making authority to complete the service.
The service manager makes sure each product works together to give the user a consistent experience.

User needs, not government needs

To build services that are complete and reflect the whole user experience we need to start with needs — user needs, not government needs.

Owning the whole user experience means a service:

  • is built on user needs and reflects how users think about the service and what they want to do 
  • has a beginning, middle and end that reflects how the needs of users change, for example finding out if you’re eligible to become a teacher is different to gathering documents so you can apply
  • can be completed as needed by phone, online and on paper
  • is accessible to everyone, for example people in a wheelchair, someone who is blind or deaf or someone who has an impaired memory.

Start the Discovery phase

Now you understand why owning the whole user experience is important, you can get ready for Discovery

Before you start Discovery, you should:

Start the service design and delivery process by moving on to the Discovery stage