The purpose of the Discovery process is to help the team get a deep understanding of the problems they are setting out to address in the service delivery by understanding:
- what users are really trying to do when they encounter the service
- the current experience for users
- what the users’ needs are as they interact with the service.
You’ll examine all the channels and touchpoints of the service (not just digital); the end-to-end experience and key user groups. This includes end users, professional users, public servants supporting service delivery and policy users, even if you are only planning to focus on a small part of that experience. You should achieve this by doing contextual user research that involves the entire team.
The Discovery stage will help the team to challenge their preconceived ideas of what the problem and solution might be and to frame their understanding of problem and solution around the users’ experience.
The key outputs from this stage should be:
- a map of the actual users’ experience of the service
- user needs for the service (stated, unstated and created).
In the Discovery stage you’ll clarify the government’s policy intent for the service so that you are able to align this with user needs. You’ll need to understand the business processes associated with the service by business process mapping.
If there are any obvious technical, legislative or other constraints relating to the service these will also need be understood in the Discovery stage.
This stage is for discovering not validating, so the team should not start prototyping and testing service design.
Before you start the Discovery stage make sure you’ve set up the team. You should also have a plan and recruitment strategy for user research.
- DTA Guide to Discovery
- DTA blog: Documenting Discovery
- DTA blog: What is Discovery?
- DTA blog: Doing Discovery in Government
- Doing user research in the discovery phase
- We need to talk about user needs
- Researching and mapping your users current experience
- Verify how we talk about user needs
- 5 cognitive traps to avoid in Discovery
The Digital Service Standard has been adapted from the UK Government’s Digital by Default Service Standard under the Open Government Licence v2.0 and v3.0.
Last updated: 12 November 2015