beta This is new guidance. Complete our quick 5-question survey to help us improve it.

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

The aim of user research in the live phase is to:

  • assess people’s experience of using your service
  • understand evolving user needs
  • test new features, changes or improvements to your service

Meeting the Digital Service Standard

To pass point 2 (do ongoing user research) in your service assessments 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.

To pass point 12 (make sure users succeed first time) you must show how you’ve researched end-to-end user journeys and designed them to meet the needs of all your users, including those with disabilities and support needs.

How to do user research in live

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).

Who to research with

You must do research with a broad range of users, including:

  • those with limited digital access and confidence
  • people with a range of visual, hearing, motor and cognitive impairments
  • people who use assistive technologies, like screen readers or speech recognition software

You should also include people who provide the service or who support other users (for example, caseworkers, call centre agents and charity workers).

Learn more about finding user research participants.

Typical user research activities

In live, you can learn more about your users’ needs by:

  • reviewing web analytics and back-office data to measure service performance
  • doing surveys or follow-up interviews to collect detailed feedback on your service
  • using interviews and visits to get a deeper understanding of any problems users tell you about
  • doing face-to-face and remote usability tests to find usability and accessibility issues with features you’ve added or changed
  • doing A/B testing (comparing 2 versions of a web page to see which performs better) on new and changed features

From these activities you’ll typically get:

  • a deeper understanding of how different kinds of users experience your service
  • insight into usability and accessibility issues and how to fix them
  • ideas for ways to improve your service in future

You’ll be doing enough research when you understand how different kinds of people experience your service, and how their needs may be changing.

You may also find these guides useful:

Published by:
User research community
Last update:

Guidance first published