5. We use user-centered research and design methods

It’s important for us to build digital services that solve the needs of users and are enjoyable to use. By the time you’re designing a solution, you should have a solid understanding of the users you’re building for and the problems you’re trying to solve. Though the needs of agency stakeholders are important, the satisfaction of citizens or other end-users are the primary way we measure success.

You can see more information about the methods our design team uses at this site and read more on our blog about user interview best practices.

Tip: In user-centered design, we conduct interviews with users to understand their needs and how they experience the status quo. Your agency can start by speaking with call center or customer service representatives to sketch out personas — or composite representative descriptions — of types of customers and what their needs and behaviors are.

What does this mean for you?

Together, we will prioritize your users and their problems. Most agencies serve several different user groups. Who are your most important users, and what problems are you solving for them?

User stories are the primary way of expressing software functionality without specifying how it’s technically implemented. As the agency representative, your product owner will write and prioritize user stories with input and research from the team. Each sprint, the team chooses the top priority user stories, then builds functionality and tests it with actual users to measure whether the feature meets its intended outcome.

Our joint product team will understand if we’re building the right thing by continuously getting our work in front of users (ideally, every few weeks or sprint). We will rely on your agency to recruit users for us to speak with. For a medium-sized project, we will likely want about six new users every two to four weeks.

How do you know if you’re ready to work in a user-driven way?

  • Do you have a first draft of who you think the main users are? Have you created personas?
  • When is the last time you spoke to your users? Family and friends don’t count.
  • Which users are the priority? (They all can’t be the priority.)
  • Can you recruit three users for us to speak with before our first workshop?
  • Will you allow the project solution to change as you learn from users?