DWP invests in user testing tool to tap into ‘holistic insights’

Department signs deal with specialist technology firm that will provide a platform to enable Universal Credit teams to expand research efforts and generate feedback in a number of different ways

The Department for Work and Pensions has signed a deal for user-testing technology intended to provide “holistic insights” into the experiences on claimants of Universal Credit.

In September 2023, the DWP entered into a one-year deal with specialist software firm UserTesting Technologies. The contract, which is valued at £113,400, covers the use of the company’s UserZoom system, which the procurement notice describes as a public cloud-hosted “user testing and insights platform”.

The text of the contract indicates that the technology will help the department expand its current testing efforts and derive a greater range of feedback from benefit recipients.

“This is a user-research specific tool which will enable UC to scale our research and to capture more representative and holistic insights through a variety and combination of methods,” the document says.

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According to the product listing for UserZoom on government’s Digital Marketplace platform, the supplier employs user-experience experts that can provide “research support, advice and training” and deliver on behalf of clients research projects intended to “obtain core usability metrics: effectiveness; efficiency; [and] satisfaction”.

Research conducted can encompass both “remote moderated and unmoderated testing” and the technology is designed to “provide in-depth quantitative and qualitative insights to understand, measure and improve digital experiences”.

Users provide input directly via “intercept surveys” that can be offered on web browsers or apps, as well as by giving “think-out-loud feedback with transcriptions”.

Data can also be gathered via tools including “heatmaps, clickstreams, card sorting, [and] tree testing”. The platform can provide organisations “real-time reporting [and] automated dashboards”, and data can exported for use in third-party analysis tools like Microsoft Power BI or IBM SPSS.

Procurement records indicate that UserTesting Technologies has previously won six-figure-plus contracts to provide its testing software to the government bodies including HM Revenue and Customs, the Government Digital Service, Department for Education, the Intellectual Property Office and the Met Office.

Sam Trendall

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