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Forever User-Centred, The GDS Way


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Slides for a masterclass on "Forever User-Centred, The GDS Way" facilitated by Karl Orsborn, Wunder and held at the IWMW 2018 event which took place at the University of York on 11-13 July 2018.


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Forever User-Centred, The GDS Way

  2. 2. ● About Wunder ● The GDS approach ● Challenges universities face ● Challenges students face ● Design challenge ○ User research ○ Creating personas (then a coffee break!) ○ Writing user needs ○ Prototyping AGENDA
  4. 4. WE ARE WUNDER We are a full service digital agency that designs, builds and optimises digital solutions. With our unique blend of continuous digital development, user research, and agile coaching, we have the power to grow, retain and engage with our clients. We have over 160 specialists working across 9 offices in 5 countries, including UK, Germany, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland.
  5. 5. Digital Consulting OUR SERVICES UX & Service Design Solutions Development Continuous Improvement Discovery Performance Audits User Research Digital Consulting UX Strategy Content Strategy UX & Service Design Interaction & Content Design Systems Integrations Agile Development Open Source Agile Project Management Performance Analytics Hosting & Maintenance Service & Support Continuous Development
  7. 7. HERE TODAY KARL ORSBORN Service Designer RANDAL WHITMORE UK Marketing Manager OLIVIER SEVERS Sales Manager
  9. 9. At the core of the GDS approach is the principle of agile delivery. Agile provides a method of breaking down large, complicated projects into small, simple ones, and working on a bit at a time. By doing this, we can reduce the levels of risk in a project, checking the project’s progress at predefined checkpoints and reassessing and adjusting budgets and requirements if necessary. WHAT IS THE GDS APPROACH? WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE IN ACTION ● Discovery - working out what your user needs are, what services already exist to meet those needs, and how they are currently performing ● Alpha - building prototype services to meet the user needs, and testing them with users ● Beta - building an end-to-end prototype, testing it in public and preparing to release it ● Live - releasing and running your service, and continuously improving it based on analytics and user feedback
  10. 10. SKILLS NEEDED IN AN AGILE DELIVERY TEAM AN EXAMPLE OF A TYPICAL GDS AGILE DELIVERY TEAM SETUP ● Product manager ● Delivery manager or scrum master ● One or more user researchers ● One or more content designers ● One or more UX/UI designers ● A developer ● A technical lead ● An assisted digital lead ● An accessibility lead ● (A digital performance analyst) ● (A technical architect) ● (A web operations engineer) ● (Quality assurance and testing skills) ● Analyse user needs and turn these into prioritised user stories ● Manage and report to stakeholders and manage dependencies on other teams ● Procure services from third parties if needed ● Design, build, test, host and iterate software ● Test with real users ● Find ways of accrediting, analysing and handling data ● Support the live running of the service
  11. 11. We overhauled and transformed their ways of working to become more user-centred and agile. We ensured they were building the right thing for their core users (primarily consumers and food businesses), helping justify spend and improve ROI per project phase and beyond. A phased approach helped with stakeholder engagement and next phase buy-in. It offers great benefits for end-users, content editors, and multiple departments who need to work collaboratively in order to achieve the organisation's goals. FOOD.GOV.UK SUCCESS
  12. 12. User feedback has been very positive: "I'm finding the new website much brighter, clearer and cleaner than the old one. Nice upgrade!" "As someone who is not confident with computers this is a very easy to use and informative web site"'s Product Owner has enjoyed the experience: "The Discovery phase was very successful. It identified the four key services that we needed to really focus on and that gave us a really good undertaking for how to proceed within the next Alpha and Beta stages.” At first glance, engagement stats look good but concrete KPIs will be available soon (the site launched into Beta earlier this year).
  14. 14. CHALLENGES UNIVERSITIES FACE Years of individual departments and faculties having free will to build their own digital services has led to a vast online library of content, much of which isn’t streamlined and ‘within brand’. Many of these sites and services are old, have a poor user experience, and lots of legacy content. They can be built on a range of different CMS’. There’s a lack of focus, with different websites being spun for all purposes to cover the multitude of projects, courses and areas of research a single department might cover. This is caused by the sheer number of faculties and departments, each responsible for their own budget, and little governance over how they manage their digital resources. Fragmentation between different departments and research faculties
  15. 15. Recruitment of students is a key issue raised by a number of universities we interviewed. There’s increased competition between different higher education providers for the recruitment of students. Different institutions target different students (e.g. domestic students, international students, undergraduates, masters students, students undertaking distance learning). What are universities doing to attract students? ● Creating an international presence by opening overseas bases or developing partnerships with universities abroad to tap into the international student market ● Developing tools and resources for distance learning ● Providing virtual open days and tours of university facilities and student accommodation ● Increasing the range of courses on offer to prospective students CHALLENGES UNIVERSITIES FACE Student recruitment
  16. 16. The current clearing process involves students phoning universities to find suitable courses. University administrative staff are stretched at this period, fielding calls from students looking to get onto a university course. There is currently no one-stop digital solution which helps to simplify the clearing process for admissions staff, with different institutions employing different methods to help manage the process. Higher education providers are seeking digital solutions to make this process more efficient and effective which will also help to free up admissions staff time. CHALLENGES UNIVERSITIES FACE Clearing process
  17. 17. CHALLENGES UNIVERSITIES FACE Digitising the student university experience Much of the university experience requires students to engage with admissions and administrative staff and many universities are looking to enhance the digital university experience for students. This is particularly the case during open days, admissions, clearing and student registration when a huge influx of visitors and enquiries takes place, which puts huge demands on staff and resources. Universities are looking at digital solutions to help streamline these processes.
  18. 18. There has been a recognition that in changing times, students profiles, needs and circumstances have changed. Students can be of a range of ages, some may decide to study much later in life, some may live abroad, others may have children or want to study around full-time employment. By providing more flexibility to students, such as offering online resources, universities can become more appealing to a broader range of students. CHALLENGES UNIVERSITIES FACE The changing profile and needs of students
  20. 20. CHALLENGES STUDENTS FACE Applying to university is a long, drawn-out affair that happens at a very stressful time for students as they’re studying and preparing for exams. Lower sixth students are encouraged to start looking at courses and unis as early as April, and by June they’re actively booking onto open days and engaging with unis directly. By the end of July students are narrowing down their options and preparing their monster, 4000 word personal statement. By September students will have their predicted grades and are ready to start applying. Oxbridge applications have to be made by October and other universities by mid-January the following year. It’s not until the end of March that students will receive their offers. That’s almost a year of having to make huge decisions (and waiting). The application process
  21. 21. CHALLENGES STUDENTS FACE Students that don't get the grades they required and still want to go to university go through clearing. Emotions are running high during this period. Students leave devastated if results aren’t what they thought they'd get. They're advised to start ringing around the universities from home. Students can often be left on hold for hours and hours because everyone else in the country is going through the same process. Once they get through to someone on the phone, they're often given a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ there and then. Once students are through, the clearing process is quite good but this can still take a matter of days at a time when students can be very upset. Clearing
  22. 22. CHALLENGES STUDENTS FACE Careers advisors, tutors, and teachers give students as much information as they can to help students make the right choice, but they can't make the ultimate choice for them. The majority of students don't know what they want to do (who does at the age of 17 or 18?). They really struggle when deciding which course to apply for to keep their options open and many lead with the A-Level subjects they've studied which they enjoy the most. Many factors influence a students’ course or university choice, including the perceived quality of universities, peer pressure from parents keen for their sons and daughters to somewhere in particular (perhaps because of prestige, or cost) and from friends, who want to stick with mates and study in the same place. Tutors and teachers are also, of course, highly influential. Course and university choices
  23. 23. CHALLENGES STUDENTS FACE UCAS is pivotal when it comes to applying to universities. Not only does it manage the entire application process, from storing and sharing personal statements, references, and course and university choices, but it also offers the most comprehensive list of courses available at all unis in the UK. Searching for courses on the UCAS website yields vast numbers of results with students needing to click into each one to find out more about that specific course. Searches can be narrowed down by filtering based on type of qualification, location and (finally!) entry requirements, but this often still results in a bewildering array of courses and subject combinations. The role of UCAS
  25. 25. The problems universities face are huge, and it may seem like a monumental effort to even begin to tackle them, but the GDS proved it can be done when they built GOV.UK WHAT DID THEY ACHIEVE? ● Hundreds of separate department and agency websites were gradually brought under the single GOV.UK domain ● 667 user needs were highlighted and addressed during the design and development of the new site ● GOV.UK running costs are less than a quarter of the sites it replaced ● The processes GDS used to build GOV.UK set the benchmark for best practice in user-centred design ● These processes led to the creation of the Government’s Digital Service Standard, which all new public facing transactional services must meet
  26. 26. DESIGN CHALLENGE 120 minutes
  27. 27. “As a prospective student, how do I choose a university course that’s right for me?”
  28. 28. SOME BACKGROUND RESEARCH (Finding a course really isn’t that easy)
  29. 29. Acoustical Aeronautical Aerospace Audio Automotive Biochemical Boatbuilding Chemical Chemical process Communication Computation Computer aided Computer systems Control Electrical and electronic servicing Electrical Electronic Energy Engineering systems Engineering technology Explosive ordnance Extended Fire Fluid Forensic Foundation Gas Industrial design Instrumentation Mathematical Mechanical Metals Mineral Mining Model Motor vehicle Naval architecture Ocean Offshore Petrochemical Petroleum Plant Power Reliability Shipbuilding Telecommunications Welding
  30. 30. “As a prospective student, how do I choose a university course that’s right for me?”
  31. 31. DESIGN CHALLENGE Design A Useful Online Course Finder
  33. 33. User research helps us learn about our users and create a service that meets their needs. Without it, we don't know what problems we’re trying to solve, what to build, or whether the service we design will work for users. The aim of user research is to find out: ● who your likely users are and what they’re trying to do ● how they do it currently (for example, what services or channels they use) ● the problems or frustrations they experience ● what users need from your service to achieve their goal DISCOVERY User research
  34. 34. ● Ethnography - observing how people do things and what problems or barriers they encounter ● Interviews - one-on-one discussions with end-users, exploring what they do and how they do it ● Workshops - facilitated group exercises with internal and external users ● Surveys - quantitative research with large numbers of participants ● Existing data analysis - researching data such as analytics, workflows and data logs ● Journey mapping - map out the existing journey a user takes to complete a specific task DISCOVERY User research activities
  35. 35. DISCOVERY In the world of government, it's important not only to demonstrate to GDS that you’ve attempted to address real-world problems, but it also builds empathy for users within the whole team and fosters a 'team sport' ethic to user research. For universities it will help to demonstrate to key internal stakeholders that there you’ve highlighted a problem and have done the research to back it up, and consequently get buy-in to continue to the next phase of the project. It’s also a good checkpoint for universities to ensure that what happens next is grounded in solid evidence before investing more time and money. Why user research is important
  36. 36. DISCOVERY After carrying out your discovery activities you should typically get: ● Descriptions of different types of users (for example, personas) ● An understanding of the barriers that users face ● A journey map that describes your users’ current experience ● Sets of needs for different types of users User research outputs
  38. 38. I'm doing psychology, biology and sociology but don't know what to study at university. I think I am going to get 3 B's, hopefully at A2. At the time, I chose my current course because I was planning to originally do photography however I'm really spontaneous/impulsive and wanted to push myself to try something new and maybe more useful or more difficult so I changed it at the last minute. I have enjoyed the time I've spent in this course, I just don't enjoy it enough to pursue a career out of it. I really want to go to uni. I have always wanted to do something in writing, such as journalism/politics or even teaching, I just don't know. I mean, I even looked at Nursing. I basically can't seem to make a choice, my grades are a restriction too. I mean if my careers adviser at my college couldn't help me decide on something, I don't know who can. WHAT DOES THIS TELL US? ● Subjects ● Grades ● Spontaneity ● Indecisiveness ● Interests
  39. 39. I currently have absolutely no idea what I want to study at uni or what I want to do with my life so can’t narrow it down to something specific like dentistry. I did very well in my A levels and took a gap year as I had the same dilemma, thought I finally figured it out, applied, went to uni briefly, hated my course, dropped out and am now back to square one. There’s no one subject that really stands out to me and having been out of education for a while I seem to have lost the motivation to study and it’s gonna take something super inspiring to pull me back in. I would also like to be within an hour of home as I do get very homesick so that narrows things down slightly… which may or may not be a good thing? ● Subjects ● Grades ● Spontaneity ● Indecisiveness ● Interests ● Motivation ● Inspiration ● Location WHAT DOES THIS TELL US?
  40. 40. ● Subjects ● Grades ● Spontaneity ● Indecisiveness ● Interests ● Motivation ● Inspiration ● Location ● Enjoyment ● Job prospects ● Risk WHAT DOES THIS TELL US?Before my gap year I was set on doing engineering or physics, but I have found out that I just won't enjoy doing them either as a career, or just for study. I used to want to do them because I had this stupid mentality that what I enjoy is not important and that I should only study something at uni that will increase "job prospects". I am much more inclined to study psychology, chemistry, law or neuroscience, but I scratched psychology and law off my list because I have read a lot about how competitive it is, which put me off. And I was worried that job prospects for psychology/law would be no better either. So now I feel like I should study a "reliable" undergrad like chemistry or neuroscience? But I'm not sure if I am that interested in chemistry in the first place? I didn't enjoy studying chemistry much, from my experiences at A level, and I would hate to repeat the experiences. Since the modules are quite similar to A level.
  41. 41. WHAT DOES THIS TELL US? I still don't know what to study at uni and my personal statement first draft is due on Tuesday. I currently study biology, chemistry and psychology. I wanted to do pharmacy after I visited Portsmouth uni open day but I have read so much online about how bad it is… My other options are biochemistry which I was thinking of doing and then doing a Masters in forensics as that really interests me. However, it’s very hard to get a job in forensics. I was also considering biomedicine, anatomy, chemistry and biology. But I really don't know what to do anymore. And I don't particularly want a job in a lab doing research. I also really want to go to Portsmouth uni as it’s fairly cheap to live there and I won't get much of a maintenance loan and my parents don't have much to help me. ● Subjects ● Grades ● Spontaneity ● Indecisiveness ● Interests ● Motivation ● Inspiration ● Location ● Enjoyment ● Job prospects ● Risk ● Money
  42. 42. WHAT DOES THIS TELL US? If you know 100% that’s where you wish to go then look at the uni website and work your way through all the possible courses, ticking off the ones you aren’t interested in until you narrow it down. ● Subjects ● Grades ● Spontaneity ● Indecisiveness ● Interests ● Motivation ● Inspiration ● Location ● Enjoyment ● Job prospects ● Risk ● Money
  43. 43. WHAT DOES THIS TELL US? ● Subjects ● Grades ● Spontaneity ● Indecisiveness ● Interests ● Motivation ● Inspiration ● Location ● Enjoyment ● Job prospects ● Risk ● Money Engineering is an extensive subject, and with so many types of engineering to choose from, it can be difficult to narrow down which one is for you. To help you to decide, you should try and identify what you’re passionate about. What gets you excited, and what do you spend your free time on? All types of engineering include some form of problem-solving (and generally focus on making life easier), but what engineering-related solution gives you the most buzz? If you choose a subject you’re naturally interested in, you’ll find it easier to stay motivated during your course, and stay involved with the subject whilst pursuing an engineering career.
  44. 44. ACTIVITY ONE 15 minutes Creating personas
  45. 45. PERSONAS ● Personas are hypothetical, archetypal representations of real users ● They can be used to help identify the motivations, expectations, and goals that influence online behaviour ● We use these fictitious personas to describe user characteristics such as age, goals, skills, attitudes, concerns, and behaviour patterns ● These can then help guide the decisions we make for the design of our service Personas can be very useful if they are developed based on sufficient research data and rigorous analysis
  46. 46. COFFEE TIME
  47. 47. WHAT PERSONAS LEAD TO A step on from a user persona, an empathy map is a collaborative tool teams can use to gain a deeper insight into their users. Much like persona, an empathy map can also represent a group of users. Empathy maps allow us to visualising user attitudes and behaviors and they help UX teams align on a deep understanding of end users. The mapping process also reveals any holes in existing user data. Traditional empathy maps are split into 4 quadrants (Say, Think, Hear, and See), with the user or persona in the middle. Empathy maps provide a glance into who a user is as a whole. Empathy maps
  48. 48. WHAT PERSONAS LEAD TO Experience maps provide a visual representation of what users do, think and feel over time, from the point they start needing a service to when they stop using it. Speaking to a range of users will help you understand all the events, transactions and related services they may experience throughout their journey. Consolidating these into a single map will help you to understand: ● how users experience the current service ● how things work (or don’t) ● interdependencies - for example, between different departments or services ● pain points and where things are broken Experience maps
  49. 49. ACTIVITY TWO 15 minutes Writing user needs
  50. 50. USER NEEDS People and businesses use online services to help them get something done (for example, pay a bill, check a their bank balance, buy a plane ticket). ‘User needs’ are the needs that a user has of a service, and that the service must satisfy for the user to get the right outcome for them. Services designed around users and their needs: ● are more likely to be used ● help more people get the right outcome for them ● cost less to operate by reducing time and money spent on resolving problems To create content or services, you must start with the user need. It’s a simple concept, but is sometimes a bit harder to put into practice. Understanding user needs
  51. 51. As a… [who is the user?] I need to… [what does the user want to do?] So that… [why does the user want to do this?] They’re written from the user’s perspective and in language that a user would recognise and use themselves.
  52. 52. As a prospective student I need to get help and advice So that I can find a course that meets my requirements This is a valid user need because it doesn’t suggest a specific solution. You might need to produce a combination of features and content to make sure the user need is met. A GOOD EXAMPLE OF A USER NEED A BAD EXAMPLE OF A USER NEED As a prospective student I need to use an online search So that I can see courses that will accept me based on my predicted grades This is not a valid user need because it creates a ‘need’ to justify an existing service, and suggests a specific solution that may or may not be right. Assumptions we make when designing content or a service can often be wrong. We need to find the best solution to meet each user need.
  53. 53. As a prospective student I need to study a course that I find enjoyable and fulfilling So that I stand the best chance of succeeding
  54. 54. USER JOURNEYS The goal of the discovery phase is to be able to map out the ideal process a user will go through based entirely on their needs. User journeys are the step-by-step journey that a user takes to reach their goal. This journey will often consist of a number of key decision points that carry the user from one step to another. Experience maps (mentioned earlier) often represent the current user journey, with all of its various problems and pains. Once user research has been carried out and a list of user needs has been established, the existing journey can then be redesigned to form an ‘ideal’ user journey free from frustration. The ultimate discovery outcome
  55. 55. ENDING DISCOVERY In the discovery phase we understand, and map out, the user journey. We aim to find out: ● Who our users are ● Our users’ needs, and if and how they are currently met ● How we could start developing a new service (if our discovery finds there’s a user need for one) ● The people we need for the alpha phase ● What the user journey for someone using our proposed service might look like ● What we could name our proposed service ● How we can meet accessibility requirements ● How we might build a technical solution given the constraints of legacy systems ● Any policies that relate to our service and how they might affect our service What we hope to achieve
  56. 56. ENDING DISCOVERY Our discovery phase (according to GDS) should generate three things: ● a prioritised list of user needs ● a prioritised list of user stories ● a list of stakeholders, and information you’ve got from them about existing services Most importantly, ending discovery gives the project team a chance to take stock of what they’ve learnt and present their findings back to senior stakeholders. This gives everyone an opportunity to assess the importance of ongoing work and any related risk, and for additional budget to be released so the project can continue (if appropriate). What we hope to achieve
  57. 57. ENTERING ALPHA In the alpha phase we should build wireframes and test prototypes with users, and demonstrate that the service we want to build is technically possible. We do this to find problems with our service design and decide how to solve them, and make some estimates about how much the service will cost. Doing this also helps us learn about the risks for the beta stage as early as possible. By the end of alpha we should know whether to move the service into the beta phase (like the end of discovery, the end of alpha is an opportunity to 'cut our losses'), and what we need to build in beta. Goals of the alpha phase
  58. 58. The wireframes are the floor plan for your website, creating a vessel for which design and content can flow into. A wireframe is a visual representation of a user interface, stripped of any visual design or branding elements. It’s used by UX Designers to define the hierarchy of items on a screen and communicate what the items on that page should be based on user needs. WIREFRAMES
  59. 59. WIREFRAMES ● Give visual designers a basis to begin creating screens ● Used as a reference point for functional specifications ● Communicate the functionality you’re going to build with stakeholders without muddying the waters with visual design elements or branding ● Explore ideas without the difficulty of change inherent in Photoshop mockups ● Used as a basis for prototyping and for user testing ideas early on Why they’re important The wireframes are the floor plan for your website, creating a vessel for which design and content can flow into.
  60. 60. ACTIVITY THREE 20 minutes Prototyping
  61. 61. PROTOTYPES A prototype is a quasi-realistic representation of what you’re building that can be interacted with and tested on users in order to help validate your design. They’re useful for a number of reasons: ● Help identify usability issues before going to code ● Get early user feedback ● Observe how users want to interact with your design ● To work out complex functionality or screen flows ● To help begin to define the interaction design ● Faster to create than fully coded solutions (front and back end) What is a prototype?
  62. 62. PROTOTYPES Prototypes can come in many forms and fidelity. They can range from paper based sketches, clickable wireframes and even fully coded HTML. Typically prototyping was seen as one of the later stages of the UX design process, conducted after you had finished a full set of wireframes. With techniques such as paper prototyping it can be done much sooner and emerging techniques like browser-based prototyping can even give you a springboard to begin the actual build process. What is a prototype?
  63. 63. DESIGN CHALLENGE Design A Useful Online Course Finder ● Subjects ● Grades ● Spontaneity ● Indecisiveness ● Interests ● Motivation ● Inspiration ● Location ● Enjoyment ● Job prospects ● Risk ● Money
  64. 64. ● Our objective in the beta phase is to build a working version of the service based on our alpha prototypes ● The version we build must be able to handle real usage and work at scale ● We also keep improving the service and replace (or integrate with) existing legacy services ENTERING BETA What is beta?
  65. 65. ENTERING BETA By the end of the beta phase we aim to: ● Improve our service by testing it with users, based on the user stories you created in the alpha phase ● Solve any technical or process-related challenges ● Get the service accredited (a government requirement) ● Make a plan for the launch of your service (including getting an domain name, start and end pages, and arrange SSL certificates) ● Release updates and improvements into the development environment ● Measure the effect of any changes to KPIs ● Carry out regular accessibility testing and get an accessibility audit ● Test our assisted digital support model Goals of the beta phase
  66. 66. MOVING TO LIVE The live phase is the time to keep improving your service based on: ● User feedback ● Analytics ● Your ongoing user research Launching your new service
  67. 67. MOVING TO LIVE Before you go live, you should make sure: ● The service meets the user needs you found in your discovery, alpha and beta phases ● You’ve set up your analytics to accurately measure the success of your service ● You’ve got a plan for the transition or integration of any existing services that meet a similar user need to yours ● The service meets accessibility requirements ● You can support the service and you’ll be able to keep iterating it and improving it until it’s retired Keep finding things that need improvement, do research to get the best solutions, iterate, then release. Launching your new service
  68. 68. THANK YOU