Introduction to user-centred design in government

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 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
  • how the different disciplines in user-centred design work together


  • Who are users
  • Solving the real problem
  • User needs
  • User research
  • Journey mapping
  • Failure demand
  • Inclusive and accessible services
  • Agile and UCD
  • Design patterns and tools
  • The cross-gov UCD community


This course is open to any member of staff at any Civil Service grade or those working in the public sector who would benefit from learning the basics of user-centred design in government.


The course takes 1 working day. It runs from 10am to 5pm.

Training locations and dates

Location Dates Availability
Newcastle 24 April Fully booked
Manchester 23 May Places available
Leeds 05 June Places available
Manchester 11 June Places available
Newcastle 12 June Places available
London 26 June Places available

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Request a place

To request a place on this course, email:

Email with:

  • your name
  • your organisation
  • the course name
  • the date and location you would like to attend
  • your training code (if your organisation has given you one)

We will email you to confirm your booking, once we process your request.

GDS Academy training locations

Find out how to get to our training locations in Leeds, London, Manchester and Newcastle.

Published 19 March 2019
Last updated 18 April 2019 + show all updates
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