GDS plans international user needs research in wake of Brexit

The Government Digital Service is to carry out research into the needs of GOV.UK’s international users and understand how they might change as the UK negotiates its exit from the European Union. 

The international user research team at GDS plans to work with international-facing departments – Photo credit: GDS, OGL 3.0

The six-week discovery project was prompted by an initial assessment of existing research on international users and international content, which identified “a few gaps”.

According to a blogpost on the GOV.UK blog, more work is needed to improve the team’s understanding of what international users’ needs are, how well GOV.UK meets those needs and what areas should be a priority.

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To address this, GDS is planning its own user research with British people living overseas and non-British people living in the UK.

“Having a fuller picture will be particularly useful once our research starts to focus, in part, on how needs of international citizens might have changed as a result of the EU referendum,” the post said.

“We’ll also be working closely with international facing departments to see how or if their priorities have shifted. We’ll set up potential ways for us to work together to meet international user needs as Brexit unfolds.”

At the end of the work, the team will publish a strategy report that will be used to inform the 2017 GOV.UK roadmap.

It will also act as a resource for GOV.UK teams and departments working with international users, the blogpost said.

Meanwhile, the Finding Things team at GOV.UK has announced plans for changes to its user research into improving navigation across the sites.

The newly-designed research cycle is based on a pilot with users of early-years education content. This found that there wasn’t enough time between research rounds to readjust quickly enough, while carrying out a month of contextual research with one final analysis session meant the team had to wait until the end for any in-depth insights.

The new process aims to speed up the process, make it more flexible and improve collaboration with other teams.

It will give the recruitment agency two weeks to recruit the first round of participants, after which point the research will begin, but with the agency running recruitment for subsequent rounds concurrently will the research.

For instance, during the first round of research – which will last a week and involve five users of the same type – the agency will be recruiting for round two.

Then, after the first round of research there will be a group analysis, which will avoid the problem of results only coming in at the end.

Following this, there will be a second round of research, while the agency recruits for the third, and so on until the team has spoken to all the types of user.

There will also be tree testing during the interview sessions, so the researchers can iterate the draft taxonomy throughout the research cycle.

The user research team at GDS is also looking for a head of user research, a post that was first advertised in July this year but was re-posted last week after failing to successfully fill the position.


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