We’re changing the way we do user research and analytics in government and we need great leaders to help us do it.
Helping government meet the needs of users has always been at the core of what we do here at the Government Digital Service (GDS). That’s why the first of the Government Design Principles is ‘Start with User Needs’.
The third is ‘Design with Data’. This is because it’s important to remember that we can learn a lot about real-world behaviour by looking at how existing services are used.
When GDS was set up 7 years ago, we established user research in government as a distinct discipline separate from other types of research.
We did this because working with small numbers of users face-to-face to get an in-depth understanding of their needs was a new concept in government which needed space to grow.
But a lot has changed in 7 years and government has made huge progress in being user-centered. There are now more than 1500 user researchers working on services across government.
And over time the separation between user research and other research such as data analysis has created an artificial divide between the different types of information service teams should know about users and their needs.
Bringing user research and analytics together
As we make changes to the Service Standard this year to move beyond ‘digital’ as a silo and towards end-to-end services that involve both the policy and offline elements of a service, we need a holistic picture of what people need from government and what government needs to do to respond.
That’s why we’re changing the way we do user research in government, by bringing user research and analytics closer together. More specifically, we’re bringing the disciplines of data and analytics and user research together as one super-community across government.
We’re doing this because fully understanding user needs means learning and analysing a broad spectrum of information about our users and what they need from us, before we start to think about potential outcomes.
This means looking all the data available - from deep qualitative knowledge about how a person lives their lives, to data on how they’re using our existing services.
And government is now in a position where we can bring these disciplines together. Across departments we now have digital services being used by millions of people.
This gives us considerably more data about real usage and the opportunity to do more with analytics and techniques such as AB and multivariate testing - and to use that insight in tandem with face-to-face research.
This does not mean we expect user researchers to be expert performance analysts or vice versa. But just as interaction design and service design sit together as one discipline of ‘design’, so too will the roles in government that provide teams with knowledge about what people need from us.
Come and lead this change
As part of this changed approach, we’re hiring two new Heads of User Research and Analysis to work closely together. One as a head for GDS and one as a head for government.
Their roles will be to make sure both GDS and the rest of government have the information they need to be able to build services that meet user needs.
The Head of User Research and Analytics for GDS
This role will focus on how GDS does user research and analytics and will manage our brilliant teams of user researchers and performance analysts.
It’ll make sure all of our products and services are based on real information about what people need. Where that information is relevant for the rest of government, it’ll be shared with the wider cross-government user research community.
Head of User Research and Analytics for government
This role will lead the cross-government user research and performance analyst community.
It will work with communities in departments to create best practice, provide training and support and ensure that all government departments are working in a way that is user-centered.
If you’re not sure which role to apply for, you’re welcome to apply for both or have a chat with our recruitment team.