1 Understand user needs

Understand user needs. Research to develop a deep knowledge of the users and their context for using the service.

Why it’s in the Standard

You need to understand the people who use your service (your users) and what they want to do (their user needs) in order to build a service that works for them. You need to understand users and their needs from their point of view and not solely through the lens of the project you have been tasked with.

To do this, you will need to really understand what users are trying to do when they encounter your part of the service and you need to design services that address that context. This will often involve understanding things that are not ‘in scope’ or part of your responsibility so that you can design better services.

You will need to understand all aspects (end to end and across channels) of your users’ current experience. You should include as users everyone who is involved in the service delivery: end users, public servants delivering the service and other intermediaries who support end users to access the service.

Your user research needs to cover a wide range of users and show that you understand how different user scenarios may impact service design and delivery. You must include from the earliest stages users who may need assistance to interact digitally, or are unable to interact digitally at all.

How you’ll be assessed

During the Discovery and Alpha stages the entire team should have spent a lot of time with end users and learned a lot about their needs. You should understand and be able to show evidence to demonstrate:

During the Beta stage your understanding of what your users value will have matured through testing design prototypes with them. By the end of the Beta stage you should be able to show:

By the time you are ready to go live you should:

Further reading

You can learn more about user research in the Service Design Community of Practice.

Last updated: 6 May 2016