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Creating simple user personas

Personas are a great place to start with user centred design, particularly if the whole practice is new to your organisation. This is because they can provide a quick and cheap way of ensuring your project puts the different types of user at the heart of your service design process. Personas are fictional representations of the different types of potential users of your service. Well written ones can bring the important user types to life, which is why it helps to make them as realistic as possible. They also help to give the project team focus, by constantly reminding them…

Matching user needs with tech capabilities

Something that I have found helps an awful lot is having a simple way to match identified user needs with the technology capabilities needed to meet them. It helps in two main ways: by encouraging people to consider the user needs they are trying to meet before thinking about technology solutions (always tempting, but dangerous!) by reinforcing the message about capability-based technology delivery, as opposed to always thinking in terms of single monolithic systems By considering user needs first, then identifying individual capabilities to meet them, it’s possible to come up with solutions that are more likely to succeed and…

Do you need a digital programme?

The mechanics of making digital change happen in an organisation can be really complicated. What works in one place may well not stick in another. It all depends on strategy, structures, politics and personalities. One common approach is to have a clearly defined digital programme. In many ways it makes perfect sense: you have a strategy in place, and a programme to implement that strategy. Having a programme helps you bid for some (most likely capital) money to help make it happen, you get a clear timescale to work to, and some benefits (savings!) to realise – not forgetting a…

Creating good, simple user stories

User stories are the strongest way you can capture requirements for your digital service and are another key component in taking a user centric approach to design. Rather than the old way of doing things, of producing a specification document outlining every single feature that a product needs to have, user stories focus on the needs of the users of that product, and specifically on their outcomes. This focus goes a long way towards producing services that are usable and deliver end to end, rather than breaking down halfway through because a feature ‘works’ technically, but doesn’t do what is…