Service Standards
1 Understand Users and Their Needs

1. Understand users and their needs

Develop a deep understanding of users and the problem you’re trying to solve for them.

Look at the full context to understand what the user is trying to achieve, not just the part where they have to interact with government.

Why it’s important

Understanding as much of the context as possible gives you the best chance of meeting users’ needs in a simple and cost effective way.

Focusing on the user and the problem they’re trying to solve - rather than a particular solution - often means that you learn unexpected things about their needs.

The real problem might not be the one you originally thought needed solving. Testing your assumptions early and often reduces the risk of building the wrong thing.

What it means

Service teams should learn as much as possible about the problem users need them to solve by:

  • doing user research to understand what users need - and, where relevant, secondary research and analysis
  • building quick, throwaway prototypes to test their hypotheses
  • using web analytics and other data that’s available (for example, from government call centres or third party services to enhance their understanding of the problem