How do we become ‘user-centred’? – a case study
18 January 2022
As part of our Digital Landscape Review, we’ve been speaking to organisations right across Wales.
In this blog post, we’re sharing the experience of The National Library of Wales on their journey to become more ‘user-centred’.
Dr Dafydd Tudur, Head of Engagement and Digital Content explains:
“To become more user-centric in the delivery of our digital services was one of the main aims of The National Library of Wales’s Digital Access team when it was formed in 2015 and, in seven years, our approach has been transformed.”
Here are five tools and practices that have been used to gain a better understanding of our users and improve how they experience our services.
- Personas: Personas help us to approach our services from our users’ perspective. A long list of current or prospective users is organised into groups based on common requirements or interests, for example an educator, researcher or casual user. These are developed into personas: imaginary archetypal characters who represent the main user types/groups. Using analytics, data and the team’s experience, we discuss the personas’ demographics, characteristics and behaviours, and their goals for using our service.
- User stories: We create ‘user stories’ for our personas. These are structured in three parts: ‘As a [persona] I can [the persona’s need] so that [the reason for that need]’. These stories are used to prioritise the features of our services, stimulating discussion on their value to the user, how they are delivered and how much work it would be for the team.
- User journeys: We approach the how users interact with a service as ‘a journey’. We use a user journey template to map the user’s interaction with the service and then break it down into steps which helps us discuss the elements that should be improved.
- Usability testing: Analysing how users behave and interact with the service (as well as collecting their opinions) has enabled us to identify pain points in their user journeys. We run usability sessions, where a user is given tasks and then observed by a team member as they attempt to complete them. As part of these sessions, we also ask questions based on their digital habits and their experience and opinion of our services which we use to verify and improve our personas.
- Feedback cycle: Feedback and insights into our services come from many directions. We label suggestions, comments, or complaints into categories; features, improvements, bugs, or blockers so that they can be organised and prioritised. ‘Features’ are requests for entirely new features which would help with a new user story. An ‘improvement’ is a change to an existing feature of the service leading to a better user experience, ‘bugs’ are errors that need to be corrected but don’t prevent the user from completing their task and ‘blockers’ do prevent a user from completing their journey. An impact/effort matrix is used to prioritise these, except for ‘blockers’, which are given immediate attention.
A willingness to explore, experiment, reflect and learn has been key to the introducing these changes to our way of working. We’re always learning something new from our users and other practitioners, and eager to hear from other teams who are using similar methods or interested in doing so. Drop us a line at email@example.com
Blog post by: Dr Dafydd Tudur
Head of Engagement and Digital Content