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  1. Service manual
  2. User research
  3. User research in alpha

The aim of user research in alpha is to:

  • improve the team’s understanding of your users and their needs
  • test different design ideas and service prototypes with likely users
  • learn how to build or improve your service so that it helps users achieve their goal

Meeting the Digital Service Standard

To pass point 1 (understand user needs) in your service assessments you must show that you’ve researched the needs of all your likely users, including those with support and access needs.

To pass point 2 (do ongoing user research) you must show that you have an ongoing plan to research and test your service so you can keep improving it based on users’ needs.

How to do user research in alpha

You need to think about your service from end to end and consider all the ways that users interact with it (including all tools, transactions, support and offline steps).

You must also do research with a broad range of users, including those with access needs and low digital skills.

Learn more about finding user research participants.

Typical user research activities

You can learn more about your users and your design ideas by:

  • using interviews and visits to deepen your understanding of relevant aspects of your users’ lives and work
  • trying out design concepts with likely users to see how well they meet user needs
  • testing interactive prototypes to explore the usability of different designs

From these activities you’ll typically get:

  • a better understanding of your users’ needs, including their support and access requirements
  • feedback on how well your designs work for users
  • helpful insight into usability issues with layout, functionality and content

You’ll have done enough research when you’re confident that your design solutions will meet the needs of your users, including those with support and access needs.

You may also find these guides useful:

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User research community
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Guidance first published