Blog Posts from Parliament

(Updated Jan 2019)

As you may know, nine months ago I left PlayStation to lead the User Research Team at Parliament.

Although it’s been sad to leave the world of gaming, and many awesome colleagues, it’s been nice to be able to talk more openly about the work our research team is doing, especially through Parliament’s new series of blogs. This post rounds up the blog posts so far…

What we learned from the GDS User Research team
GDS are leaders in demonstrating best practise with user research in the public sector. Early on in the formation of our own user research team in Parliament we went to shadow them for a week to learn about their process. This is a bit about what we learned when with them.

What user research told us about oral questions
Parliament makes a lot of digital stuff – not just it’s public facing website and services, but also tools to help the MPs scrutinise the work of the government. This post shares some of the work we did understanding how MPs ask questions within Parliament.

Analysing research data as a team
As embedded user researchers working in multidisciplinary teams, our role is not (just) to understand users – we have to bring our colleagues along on the journey with us and ensure they know what users need. This post describes how we analyse research data collaboratively with team members to help achieve this.

What we talk about when we talk about user needs
“Start with user needs” is a mantra often heard in digital teams in the public sector. This post explores what that means, why we do it, and what some of the challenges are for our team within Parliament.

What our users know about general elections
Although not written by me, this post describes part of the work we did to support Parliament during the General Election – using analytics, surveys and other sources of data to understand why people were coming to Parliament’s website, and what they needed to know during a surprise General Election.

How proto-persona workshops can help kickstart research
In addition to working as embedded researchers, our team is also committed to helping all of the digital projects across Parliament do a better job of understanding their users. This post talks about how we use proto-persona workshops as one tool to do this.

Beyond Start with User Needs I discuss how a researchers role is to advocate for the user throughout the development of digital products, and the risks of letting technical and business needs dictate decisions.

Why User Researchers work in multidisciplinary teams User researchers can have most impact when embedded in the teams they are working with. In this post, I discuss why this is.

Why we don’t answer ‘how many times that happened’ In this post, I explain why it’s dangerous to ‘count’ how many times usability issues happen in small qualitative research studies, and the risks that researchers may encounter.

Picking the right research method I discuss the range of research methods out there, and why research is more than just ‘lab testing’.

Back in the GDPR The team share how they have prepared for GDPR to ensure that we’re capturing consent in a rigorous and reliable way.

Are you ready for user research? A short checklist for teams, so they can understand why user researchers sometimes have to say “no”.

Who is Parliament’s website for? The approach we are taking to work out who the real audience for Parliament’s website is.

Is user research a team sport? An exploration of what ‘user research is a team sport’ does and doesn’t mean.

PS – Although I know longer work for PlayStation, I still intend to remain an active member of the community, and still run the GUR-SIG Mentoring Scheme, and Jobs Board. See the Games User Research Special Interest Group’s website to learn more about these initiatives, and all of the other great work the GUR-SIG does.

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