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How to be a better user researcher: shadow 2 hours every 6 weeks

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Exposure hours: 2 hours 6 weeks

User research may be a team sport, but it’s not uncommon to be the only user researcher in your team.

So, how do user researchers in agile teams make sure they’re getting better at what they do?

The best way is to watch other user researchers and learn from their techniques. It’s also useful to have other researchers observe you and give feedback.

Exposure hours

We’re all working hard to get our developers, designers, product managers, service managers, policy colleagues, and more, into the lab so they can make decisions in the best interest of their users’ experience.

Encouraging members of our project teams to get exposure hours is not new. What is new, is asking user researchers to do the same.

A cross-government user research initiative

We recently kicked off an initiative to encourage researchers from across government to watch user research for 2 hours every 6 weeks.

Similarly, we're encouraging researchers to ask other researchers to shadow them and give feedback. Again, ideally 2 hours every 6 weeks.

We think this will help us continually improve our capabilities as user researchers and raise the quality of user research throughout government.

How to get involved

You can achieve exposure hours in the lab, at a research show-and-tell or at sprint planning - wherever you think you might need a little extra support and development. It's all about improving skills through sharing with each other and getting to know fellow researchers along the way.

If you're a cross-government researcher, we’ll use the cross-government mailing list to arrange observations and shadowing. Email Leisa if you’re not on the mailing list yet.

We encourage all researchers, government or not, to try out this initiative. Let us know how it goes via this post's comments.

Lastly, we'll soon post stories about what we’ve learned from shadowing. Subscribe, so you don't miss a post.

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1 comment

  1. Comment by Simon H posted on

    We're lucky on carers that we have three of us working together, we certainly make use of our more experienced GDS colleague's expertise. We also give each other pointers and tips, plus just watching each other in the lab is a learning experience.

    I think it's incredibly useful and something that we'd be willing to help out with on Carers, if anyone wants to come and observe us then please get in touch.