User Research and UX design – Sector Challenge Programme – Initial User Research

Sector Challenge logo

This challenge is to prototype and test ways of providing remote support for individuals struggling or failing to make Universal Credit claims online for reasons like a lack of digital or language skills, or mental health issues.

Initial User Research – Discovery
We needed to know and understand the struggles people had with the Universal Credit application process.

In order to do this we decided to carry out initial user interviews. This methodology was chosen as we knew it would allow us an an in-depth understanding of the users’ experiences.

I planned the interview strategy considering ‘What do we want to know from this research?’ (our objectives or research goals). I wrote a script which I adapted for end users, proxy-users and charity workers (who advise people applying for benefits). We collated the data from the interviews and collaboratively, in an online workshop setting, sorted into an affinity diagram

Affinity Diagram (Miro) – User Interview data
Example quotes from user research

We were also able to use this research to help us create personas for our target users. They’re based on user interviews as well the expertise and insights from the representatives of the four charities with which we’re working:

Images CC BY-ND Bryan Mathers of We Are Open Co-op

These personas certainly weren’t a final version but they were “good enough for now, safe enough to try”. With these six personas the project team had something to help develop our ideas for prototypes. At the same time, we were aware that we needed to keep iterating the personas as we learnt more about both our problems to be solved and the wants and needs of users.

Read more about our project here: