Last week my boss sent our team a TED talk video with the basic message to stop learning and start thinking.
I was inspired to think more about what I could do to serve my clients better. My job (in a nutshell) is to help build capacity within government to create online information and services that are easy to use. I had been asked to create “User-Centred Design Guidelines” as per our traditional policy lens, but I couldn’t figure out how to do so without re-writing the Internet. My goal was to create a useful resource for government employees to apply user-centred design principles and methods; so I turned to the methodology itself to discover how to best do so.
I mapped out my clients like this (image & description below) and saw that as my user research landscape.
My primary clients have a direct role in the Web publishing process and represent their organizations within a larger framework of committees and working groups. Their goal is to ensure that websites and applications are usable, accessible, interoperable and all the other outcomes of the policies to which they need to comply (e.g. equal quality in both official languages). Their clients work within their department to deliver on their program objectives and create online products – they are developers, communicators and program officers. By extension, these are my secondary clients.
We all have the same end-user client – the people for whom we want info and services to be “usable” – the public. The public is segmented into target groups, each of which can be further segmented into sub-groups (and even sub-sub-groups).
Once I mapped this all out, I realized I can serve my primary clients better if I create resources that they can use with their clients or that their clients can use directly.
To this end, I started two projects – one examining the needs and behaviours of my secondary clients. The other project is to curate research around the needs and behaviours of our collective clients – all of the target groups that the government serves. I found some old work that had been done as part of a metadata project that I re-purposed.
The goal of the first user research project is to understand how to create this user-centred design resource that I’ve been asked to produce. It will only be useful if I understand the language and perspective of government employees who work anywhere in the production of information and services for the public, not just those with whom I regularly interact.
The goal of the second user research project is to include in the user-centred design resource whatever facts and data I can find about how each of our target groups want to interact with government information and services. If you know of any good research or reports that you think would be useful, please post them below. (Or if you work within the government firewall, post them on GCPEDIA (internal link; sorry).)
As always, I look forward to hearing what you think!