31 min

GDS Podcast #38: Understanding the complexity of users’ lives Government Digital Service Podcast

    • Government

Why build a product people won't or can't use? Our user researchers share their approach to understanding needs for government’s single sign-on.
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The transcript of the episode follows:
 
Vanessa Schneider: Hello and welcome to the Government Digital Service podcast. My name is Vanessa Schneider and I am Senior Channels and Community Manager at GDS. In August, we recorded an episode on digital identity and single sign-on as part of our plans to develop one inclusive and accessible way for people to log in to all government services online. You heard from Will and Helena from GDS, as well as Tom from Veterans UK, who shared how we worked with other parts of government to shape this work. Since then, we passed the digital identity service assessment, integrated our authentication component with the first service, and completed research with more than 800 end users. And it's that research that we want to talk about today. Joining me in this are Lauren Gorton and Charlotte Crossland, both user researchers at GDS in the Digital Identity Programme. Lauren, could you please kick us off by introducing yourself and what you do?
Lauren Gorton: So I'm Lauren. I'm a user researcher on the digital identity programme in GDS, and specifically I work in the authentication team. We look at the credentials that people use as part of the single sign-on. And the first steps of our journey went live in October. So specifically, I focus on the end user aspect of that and focus on the citizen side.
Vanessa Schneider: Fantastic, thanks. Charlotte, could you please introduce yourself and what you do as well?
Charlotte Crossland: Absolutely. Hi, everyone. I'm Charlotte, I'm a user researcher on the digital identity programme, working in the design for adoption team. We've been doing a lot of research with service teams across government. We're building an authentication onboarding journey, as well as looking at identity materials that teams can use to make decisions.
Vanessa Schneider: Fantastic, thank you so much, both. So, not everyone will have listened to the previous podcast episode or read the blog posts that we've written about this work. Would one of you mind explaining a bit more about One Login for Government?
Lauren Gorton: Yes, so One Login for Government is one of the government's major projects at the moment. On GOV.UK there, there are several different sign-ins at the moment, and many different routes users could take. So what we're trying to do is streamline that down, so that in the future, there'll just be one single sign-on for GOV.UK to help improve the journeys for users and reduce confusion for people. That then opens the door to do lots of other cool things in the account space, so that people aren't having to repeat themselves too often in different services, and it helps government to basically join up a bit better.
Vanessa Schneider: Great stuff. I can see the importance in that [laughs]. Obviously, this is a loaded question to ask, given both your roles as user researchers. But I was wondering why is user research so integral to that?
Lauren Gorton: So there's no point in building something if people won't or can't use it. And the only way we know if we're on the right track is if we actually speak to the people who are the intended users. That's probably important for any organisation or business, but it's especially important in the context of government, given how important government services are if people can't access them, that can have a huge impact on people's lives. So we can't really afford to build something which people either can't use or won't use. [For] the citizen side of the research, our approach is to gather insights at all stages of the projects and from as representative a sample of people as possible. One thing is that we're not reinventing the wheel. There have been other government projects that have come before us who've done work on sign-on services. So there's a lot of existing

Why build a product people won't or can't use? Our user researchers share their approach to understanding needs for government’s single sign-on.
---------
 
The transcript of the episode follows:
 
Vanessa Schneider: Hello and welcome to the Government Digital Service podcast. My name is Vanessa Schneider and I am Senior Channels and Community Manager at GDS. In August, we recorded an episode on digital identity and single sign-on as part of our plans to develop one inclusive and accessible way for people to log in to all government services online. You heard from Will and Helena from GDS, as well as Tom from Veterans UK, who shared how we worked with other parts of government to shape this work. Since then, we passed the digital identity service assessment, integrated our authentication component with the first service, and completed research with more than 800 end users. And it's that research that we want to talk about today. Joining me in this are Lauren Gorton and Charlotte Crossland, both user researchers at GDS in the Digital Identity Programme. Lauren, could you please kick us off by introducing yourself and what you do?
Lauren Gorton: So I'm Lauren. I'm a user researcher on the digital identity programme in GDS, and specifically I work in the authentication team. We look at the credentials that people use as part of the single sign-on. And the first steps of our journey went live in October. So specifically, I focus on the end user aspect of that and focus on the citizen side.
Vanessa Schneider: Fantastic, thanks. Charlotte, could you please introduce yourself and what you do as well?
Charlotte Crossland: Absolutely. Hi, everyone. I'm Charlotte, I'm a user researcher on the digital identity programme, working in the design for adoption team. We've been doing a lot of research with service teams across government. We're building an authentication onboarding journey, as well as looking at identity materials that teams can use to make decisions.
Vanessa Schneider: Fantastic, thank you so much, both. So, not everyone will have listened to the previous podcast episode or read the blog posts that we've written about this work. Would one of you mind explaining a bit more about One Login for Government?
Lauren Gorton: Yes, so One Login for Government is one of the government's major projects at the moment. On GOV.UK there, there are several different sign-ins at the moment, and many different routes users could take. So what we're trying to do is streamline that down, so that in the future, there'll just be one single sign-on for GOV.UK to help improve the journeys for users and reduce confusion for people. That then opens the door to do lots of other cool things in the account space, so that people aren't having to repeat themselves too often in different services, and it helps government to basically join up a bit better.
Vanessa Schneider: Great stuff. I can see the importance in that [laughs]. Obviously, this is a loaded question to ask, given both your roles as user researchers. But I was wondering why is user research so integral to that?
Lauren Gorton: So there's no point in building something if people won't or can't use it. And the only way we know if we're on the right track is if we actually speak to the people who are the intended users. That's probably important for any organisation or business, but it's especially important in the context of government, given how important government services are if people can't access them, that can have a huge impact on people's lives. So we can't really afford to build something which people either can't use or won't use. [For] the citizen side of the research, our approach is to gather insights at all stages of the projects and from as representative a sample of people as possible. One thing is that we're not reinventing the wheel. There have been other government projects that have come before us who've done work on sign-on services. So there's a lot of existing

31 min

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