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Framework User Research Toolkit


Purpose of user research

User research is a core part of our Service Design, Digital Development and Commissioning processes, and is central to meeting point 1 of the Government Service Standards.

What is user research?

User research is a study of who the users of a service are, how they behave and what their motivations for using the service are. Simply put, user research is a set of techniques you can use to consistently deliver exceptional customer service.

Without user research you don’t know what problem you are trying to solve, or what the best solution to solve the problem is, so you will deliver services that don’t fully meet the user’s needs.

You’ll use different user research techniques depending on your current phase of service design. The purpose of a user research technique like "usability testing" ranges from trying to generate ideas (early in the product design lifecycle), to validating a prototype (towards the end of a product design lifecycle).

Why user research?

Learning about the users allows you to create better government services. You will discover the user's motivations, struggles and goals for a service. The role of a user researcher is not to consult with, audit, and/or teach users. The role of a user researcher is to actively observe and listen without bias or assumptions.

User research will:

  • discover the need for the products and services sooner rather than later
  • establish a good foundation to make sure you are designing the best products, services and systems
  • lower cost of projects in the long term
  • improve processes to deliver services faster and more responsively
  • reduce the number of user inquiries and complaints
  • provide value to users, leading to better user experience

Digital Services

The Digital Service team at Maidstone Borough Council lead on the research, design and development of user centered services for residents in Maidstone

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