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1. Identify your users and understand their ongoing needs

  • Conduct holistic research on the real needs of your users from their point of view and what that means for the design of the service.
  • Review and iterate constantly with user input to inform the user experience.
  • Understand the user context as individuals, whānau/family and as part of broader communities.
  • Always consider what you’re doing from an ethical point of view, including the full impact on people and communities.

Why it matters

A key part of building digital services that work for users is developing a good understanding of who the users are, what their needs are, and how the service will affect their lives. It is equally important to develop a good understanding of the different contexts in which users could be interacting, since user needs and expectations can vary depending upon where, when and how they use a digital service. This will often involve understanding things that are not ‘in scope’ or part of your responsibility so that you can design better services with others.

You will need to understand all aspects (end to end and across channels) of your users’ current experience and other intermediaries who support end users to access the service.

Wide-ranging user research needs will show that you understand how different user scenarios may impact upon your service design and delivery. It will allow you to identify and include users who may need assistance to interact digitally, or are unable to interact digitally at all.

By encouraging people to choose a digital service wherever possible you will:

  • save money by reducing the number of people using non-digital channels, such as call centres
  • help users to develop their digital skills
  • give better support to those who can’t use digital services on their own.

When you create services which are simple to use and intuitive enough that users succeed the first time, it builds trust and increases uptake of the digital channels. All users should be able to complete the task your service provides as quickly and easily as possible. It is important to think about the ways users interact with services, such as the use of mobile devices or the impact of the use of video or audio instead of text.

How to meet this principle

At a minimum you should to be able to describe your users’ needs, including:

  • a broad spectrum of users and demographics, abilities and disabilities, motivations, attitudes, literacy and digital capability, and cultural capital
  • methods for engagement with Māori and Pasifika communities
  • the channels that best support your users today and how you will incorporate new channels into the future
  • how your service would meet user needs, how it would incorporate into the broader landscape of related services and how you have assessed options to streamline, automate this service for the benefit of the user
  • your plan, budget and resourcing to measure ongoing value and evolve the service in response to user behaviours.

You should be able to demonstrate:

  • how you have tested with a wide range of users throughout the design, testing and delivery of your service including data collected from user research, usability testing, and service analytics
  • evidence that demonstrates the service minimises effort for users.



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