Introduction to user-centred design in government course

One-day GDS Academy introductory course on the importance of user-centred design and research in government.

Course summary

This GDS Academy course is for all public servants who want to understand what user-centred design is, why it is important and how it works in government. You will get the chance to explore tools and techniques and learn how user-centred design and research works in an agile team.

This is an introductory course, so will give you an understanding of user-centred design and research in government but will not turn you into a practitioner-level researcher or designer.

You should not attend this course if you have attended the GDS Academy Foundation course or if you have worked in a user research or design role for more than 3 months.

Course aims and objectives

The aim of this course is to provide an introduction to what user-centred design is and why users and user needs are central to transforming government. The course explores how government carries out user research and user-centred design to create inclusive services that are easy for people to use.

By the end of the course you will be able to explain:

  • what user-centred design is
  • why user-centred design is important
  • how user research is important to user-centred design
  • how user-centred design is done in an agile team
  • the principles of inclusive and accessible services


  • UCD in Government
  • Users
  • Solving the real problem
  • User needs
  • User research
  • User journey mapping and failure demand
  • Inclusive and accessible services
  • Help and support


This course is available to civil servants, local government employees, devolved administrations and other public servants who would benefit from learning the basics of user-centred design in government.


This course is one working day. It runs from 10am to 5pm.


The course costs £180 (plus VAT) for each person.

You must have a purchase order before requesting a place on the course.

Training locations

The GDS Academy has offices in Leeds and London. We run training courses from both locations.

We also run courses in pop-up locations. You will see these in the:

Ask a trainer to come to you

If you cannot travel to Leeds or London, you can ask a GDS Academy trainer to come to you. For example, they can travel to your office. You will need to pay for the trainer’s travel, accommodation and VAT.

If you want a trainer to come to you, email GDS Academy:

Course dates

Location Dates Availability
Leeds 28 April Postponed
London 7 May Postponed
Leeds 26 May Postponed
London 4 June Postponed
Leeds 30 June Postponed

New course dates

GDS Academy publishes new course dates approximately 4 times a year.

You can see these in the:

Book a place

You need a purchase order number before you can book a course.

Email GDS Academy

Email, with your:

  • name
  • organisation
  • mobile phone number
  • course name, the number of courses, and the number of places
  • course location
  • course date
  • purchase order number

Tell us how many trainees there will be

You can book for one person or a group of people.

If you want to book for a group, you can choose:

  • an open group (people from other organisations can join the training)
  • a closed group (this is only for you and people you invite)

If you are booking for a closed group, you must include:

  • where you want to host the course (location)
  • when you would like to host the course (date)

Contact GDS Academy

Email GDS Academy:

Published 19 March 2019
Last updated 16 April 2020 + show all updates
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