Policy as Product design. Helping teams doing user research
We wanted to make it easier for teams to access, set-up, and run user research.
Research is integral to the delivery of quality services to our customers. If we want to put the customer at the centre of everything we do, we need to be able to talk to them.
It does take more than just researchers to make that happen though. Our team has been finding out what all of us can do to support and embed quality research practices that deliver great outcomes.
We recently worked on a draft prototype called User Research Operational Guidelines, or “the Guidelines”, with the aim to help teams tackle some of the toughest challenges they face in their day-to-day research journeys.
We recently launched the Research Activities and Templates hub to help teams – the ‘do-ers’ – to speed up qualitative research by democratising the process and uplifting user research capability.
The flip side is how teams negotiate the structures they operate in, which can be a challenge even for highly experienced teams wanting to do research in the NSW Government.
We found teams sometimes ran into unintentional obstacles, rising out of a lack of understanding of user research in the broader organisation. Common challenges were; inconsistent experiences by participants when being paid (or not), research not done inclusively due to uncertainty and perceived risk, budgets (time and money) not allocated for a duty of care of researchers and participants, and a lack of clarity on vendor practices.
The Guidelines seek to address these common challenges and provide a structure for best practice for everyone involved.
We’ve been experimenting with different user-friendly formats that shift traditional ways of thinking about policy into a leaner version that is easier to interpret and can still be applied in current platforms.
A collaborative and consistent approach
Our approach is not unlike one we might use to design a product – first understanding what drives our users and then collaborating in the open to affect positive change.
We're fortunate to have had these guidelines shaped with broad expertise and enthusiasm across state and federal jurisdictions, including The Digital Transformation Authority, the Victorian Department of Premier & Cabinet, the NSW Department of Communities and Justice, The Department of Education, NSW Treasury, the Public Service Commission, the Small Business Commissioner, Transport for NSW and the State Insurance Regulatory Authority.
We’ve also been working in a truly collaborative environment with local groups and policies in DCS; including Service NSW, Revenue, the Aboriginal Outcomes Unit. This wealth of expert input has allowed us to prototype quickly and transparently – as we work towards a future policy with a modular template that others across NSW Government can adapt and improve at a local level.
Digital government is no longer an end goal in itself, but a means to go further and deliver even better government services.Hon. Victor Dominello MP, Minister for Customer Service
Access the new guidance
We have delivered the first three of a series of Guidelines that we see making up a comprehensive research toolkit, and helping inform future guidance and policy. We’re very eager to hear constructive criticism and happy to walk through our working with you.
Thank you to valued contributors including:
- Digital Transformation Agency - Krista Hulm, Senior User Researcher, co-Lab
- Revenue NSW - William Dieu, Manager, Customer Experience
- Service NSW - Phillip Bland, Customer Insights and Experience Manager
- Agency for Clinical Innovation - Jessica Leefe, Consumer Engagement and Co Design Manager and Elizabeth Newtown, Patient Partner
- NSW Ministry of Health - Jason Boyd, Principal Advisor Patient Experience
- All the community advocates and peak bodies representing people with disabilities who helped us along the way