Raise awareness and empower public servants to do more user research when developing government products and services.
Ontario Digital Service
When I first joined the Ontario Public Service (OPS), I was asked some challenging questions from OPS employees. Here are some highlights:
OPS employees wanted:
Through collaboration and research, I gathered together best practices for:
The lab team can offer space and equipment for any OPS member to conduct user research when needed.
Any OPS member can drop-in at the lab and get expert user research and design advice from a team of experience designers. The 2 hour drop-in sessions take place every 2 weeks.
The lab team takes on high priority user research projects from ministry partners when we have capacity. They can also find qualified service designer and user researches from a vendor list.
I do not take full credit for these standards, services, or programs. The purpose for displaying these services are to showcase how the user research guide is part of a holistic delivery model in collaboration with colleagues from Ontario Digital Service. View collaborators here.
Here are a list of standards and principles that help teams in government develop excellent services:
You may download a copy of the principles here.
In the span of over a year from August 2018 to September 2019, the user research lab has connected with many ministry partners to collectively share and implement best user research practices.
Unique page views for Ontario’s User Research Guide with no marketing spend.
Average time spent on the page. This is one minute higher compared to other pages on ontario.ca.
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Drop-in sessions were hosted to answer any questions or share expertise about user research and design.
OPS employees and contractors have shown up in the drop-ins to talk about challenges and needs.
Ministry departments connected at user research drop-in.
The user research lab continues to provide and improve user research services for OPS employees.
Champions of excellent service standards.
Nadine and I worked together to start the user research drop-ins, which become a tradition and has served many members of the OPS with their user research inquiries and projects ever since.
Honey led the Ontario Digital Service Standard and Simpler, Faster, Better Services Act. Her work has been crucial to raise the standards for high quality digital government services.
Dana is the primary author of the Service Design Playbook. Dana is the founder of Service Design Guild, where you can connect with the community and attend many workshops and events.
Katherine started and managed user research labs in Kitchener and Toronto until 2018. The labs implemented user-centred service design practices across OPS.
Xiaopu leads the Kitchener lab since 2018 and has led many weekly design sprints, which incorporates user research and prototyping to validate concepts quickly.
Mirjana leads the Toronto lab since 2019 and continues to streamline research operations, host drop-ins, and take on user research projects when needed.
Sameer introduced 8 principles for digital leadership with the focus on people and what it means to be a public service leader in the internet era.
Shannah is our head of experience design chapter and has led the Service Design vendor of record for teams across the OPS to consult with service design experts.
Hillary is our shit umbrella, our leader for all things digital in government, and has been a long time champion for user-centered government services.