Develop a deep understanding of users and the problem you’re trying to solve for them.

Why it’s important

Understanding the context of people’s lives gives you the best chance of meeting user’s needs in a simple and cost effective way. 

You can learn a lot about users from research that’s already been done and by analysing data, such as call centre logs, statistics and web analytics.

The real problem might not be the one you originally thought needed solving. Testing your assumptions early, with the people you’re trying to reach, reduces the risk of building the wrong thing.

If you continue to revisit your understanding of users at every stage of delivery, it’s more likely that your end product will be fit for purpose.

How you do it

  • Understand what research has already been done
    Take time to understand what you already know about users, reflecting on any existing research
  • Make sure data guides your decisions
    Explore what data can help you make decisions, from open data to call centre stats and web analytics
  • Do research with a wide range of people
    Have a clear idea of what you’re trying to find out through user research and who you need to include
  • Be ethical and inclusive
    Speak to the right users, removing any barriers that might prevent them in taking part in research, and do no harm to participants
  • Do research legally
    Make sure you are collecting and processing data legally
  • Make sure what you deliver is based on evidence
    Consider how your research becomes insight
  • Test and learn as early as possible
    Testing with users will help you know you’re delivering the right thing, for example showing prototypes to users before developing a product
  • Share your insights
    Communicate research findings and insights with your team and other organisations who could use them