#UXRConf Notes: Lucia Hsieh on User Research in Public Service
“How can the government better understand the people they’re trying to serve?”
✨ Lucia is the User Research Lead at the Ontario Digital Service (ODS). They’re dedicated to creating simpler, faster and better online services for you!
✨ The digital government wants to create an agile approach when desigining products, with user research at the forefront.
✨ Lucia discusses the challenges that are evident in the digital government. Big organizations change slowly, the process is hard and there’s a big cultural shift from waterfall to agile methods. However, she states “we have to start somewhere” and that’s exactly what ODS is doing.
“When we create digital services, we set our standards high.”
Dedicated to the community and passionate about people, Lucia Hsieh talks about user research in public service. Lucia discusses the importance of using user research techniques to ensure the representation of diverse groups in government.
The government has 30 different ministries and ODS prides themselves in working across all these ministries, tackling everything from health care to education. In the past, the government followed a “waterfall-style” approach when launching digital products. ODS is changing all of this. They have core values that put the user in the spotlight:
🔑 Obsess about the user.
🔑 Be agile and iterative.
🔑 Work out loud.
🔑 Use the data.
🔑 Be prepared to fail.
🔑 Challenge everything.
🔑 Embrace the chaos.
🔑 Be unreasonably aspirational.
Lucia talks about setting high standards and using practical tools, such as their service design playbook, when designing digital services in the public sector. Some of ODS’ projects tackle in making government websites more user-friendly, with clear call to actions, data visualization and imagery.
“You need to make sure the products you are making are getting to the people that need them most”
Lucia uses user research as a tool to tackle the challenges of building empathy and collaboration between the stakeholders and the users. ODS is working towards creating better, simpler and faster services by involving their users at the beginning of the process.
“Involve decision makers early and often”
Are you interested in user research in the digital government? Make sure to check out ODS’ blog for all the insider knowledge!
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