What's next for user research at GDS

Hello, I’m Tara, and I’m the interim Lead for the GDS User Research Community. I work alongside John Waterworth, who leads the Cross-Government User Research Community.

I’ve been at GDS for over 2 years, mostly working on GOV.UK. But over the past couple of months, I’ve been deep in Discovery, speaking to user researchers across GDS, and the teams that they’re in.

I wanted to listen and learn from my colleagues, and validate any assumptions I had about the challenges and opportunities for user research, before I began to prioritise and define our agenda for this post Spending Review era.

Here are some things I learnt:

  • There’s a clear correlation between teams that are genuinely user-centred, and team morale.
  • Delivering user-centred services, means that everyone needs to be incentivised to meet user needs.
  • There’s still more work to do around defining what we mean by user needs, and where they come from.
  • Gaining consensus is a challenge. There are opportunities to prioritise in a more transparent and evidence-based way, so that teams pull together based on aligned understanding and goals.
  • We know lots about the relationship between our users and government, and there is lots more to learn.
  • Understanding the state of that relationship is key to transforming it.

In the new year, I’ll share more of my findings in a series of blog posts.

In the meantime, on behalf of John and I, and the rest of the user research community at GDS, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas!

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Feature image credit: SurFeRGiRL30, Merry Christmas, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)


  1. Comment by Cait posted on

    Hi Tara, So glad you're involved in following on and developing such fantastic thinking at GDS - the trickle down effect in to the sector is still very much in evidence. Seems a long time since Orange! 🙂