We are civil servants working in different digital specialisms (business analysis and service design) in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. We will share our experiences of employing user-centred design methods to create better government services, and how we do this against a backdrop of less-than-ideal design conditions.
We’ll share examples of the barriers we face – budgets, difficult stakeholders, impossible time frames, a lack of understanding of user-centred methods – and how we've introduced user-centricity in these contexts (hint: it’s not always how it’s described in the books and blog posts). We will share our challenges in balancing pragmatism and methodological purism, and how we introduce novel concepts without alienating our colleagues.
We will also discuss the personal impact of advocating for new ways of working and thinking in a sector where digital remains a minority profession, and how it takes confidence, communities and mutual support to keep going.
Key takeaways for participants:
1) A reality check of what user-centred design is really like in 2023 in Government
2) Our ideas for how to introduce minimal viable user-centred design into your team or organisation, and why these methods work
3) How to maintain confidence in challenging environments