Understand people’s needs
Understanding the people you serve and the problem you’re solving for them is key to creating a successful service. It will help you deliver a better user experience, make efficient use of resources and adapt more easily as user needs change. To better understand people’s needs:
- Begin user research early to have a clear idea of what people are trying to do and how you can help them. Ensure you include people from all sides of the service in this research
- Choose research techniques suited to your context, using guidance such as the Design Research Guide and the Service Design Playbook
- Support your team with dedicated user research and user experience professionals and resources
- Record the results of your research using artefacts like user stories, personas and journey maps
- Test with people early and often to refine your design and challenge your assumptions about people’s needs
- Continue research and testing for the entire product lifecycle so you can adapt when people’s needs change
- Find collaborative ways to include people and communities in the design process. This may include ongoing working groups, peer researchers and partnerships
- Seek input from a wide variety of users, not just “typical” ones, to understand how people with different needs or abilities might experience your service
Practice human-centred design
Once you understand what people need, that knowledge should inform every aspect of your service’s design. Human-centred design means placing people at the heart of the design process, so the results respond to their needs. To centre your work on people’s needs:
- Use findings from your user research to define the essential requirements of your service and create a roadmap for delivering it
- Stay connected with users throughout the service lifecycle and consider their input in every decision
- Help people succeed the first time they use your service by making it simple and easy-to-use
- Create a service journey that maps people’s end-to-end experience using your service to understand where they might have issues
- Make your service look consistent with other government websites and services so that people know they can trust it
- Create a connected service experience so people can move easily from your service to others, including non-digital ones
Inclusion means making sure everyone can access digital information and services. Including a wide variety of people in the service design process will help you understand how people with different needs or abilities might use your service, what barriers they might face and how you can improve their experience. To help provide the best possible experience for everyone who uses your service:
- Recognize the diversity of your audience and involve people who have diverse backgrounds, perspectives and accessibility needs in your work
- Design your service to respect people’s differences and meet people’s diverse access and use needs
- Test your service with people who will use it and take special care to include people who might otherwise be left out of usability testing or the design process
- Make it accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities and people living in remote communities, Indigenous communities or areas with poor internet connectivity
Design for accessibility
Designing for accessibility means removing barriers that prevent people from fully participating in our services. Making your service accessible will mean it provides the best possible experience for all who need it. To prioritize accessibility in your work:
The alignment guide is intended to be used with the supporting context of the related practice and resources. This guide provides examples of what the implementation of this practice may look like and defines a range of competence within the practice area.
Initial teams need to connect more closely with their users to create products that respond to their needs.
- Making technical or design decisions without connecting with users and considering how they will be impacted
- Developing their product without input from people in the program areas that will implement and operate it
- Viewing accessibility as an inconvenience rather than a way to deliver value to the community
Developing teams are building the processes, skills, and awareness they need to understand and respond to user needs.
- Shifting their decision-making processes to focus on user needs
- Securing the training, resources and support they need to conduct user research and usability testing throughout the product lifecycle
- Familiarizing themselves with accessibility requirements and figuring out how to meet them
Delivering teams are guided by user feedback throughout their product’s lifecycle, ensuring it’s easy to use and meets user access needs.
- Documenting plans for user research and usability testing, content design and strategy and accessibility testing
- Engaging with users continuously to understand their needs and respond quickly when they change
- Collecting meaningful data about their product and documenting their design decisions thoroughly
Optimizing teams continuously measure and improve their processes to maximize the value they deliver for users.
- Refining their user research and usability testing practices to better understand user needs and their product’s performance
- Analyzing user research and usability testing results to identify the most valuable ways to improve their product
- Supporting their accessibility testing with automation or external audits
Innovating teams champion innovative ways of working that help improve accessibility and user experiences across government’s digital ecosystem.
- Promoting design practices that align government digital services with accessibility and inclusion requirements (particularly the government’s commitment to meet WCAG AA)
- Using insights from user research to inform strategic decision making and help leaders understand what the community expects from government digital services