The team at Companies House are asking businesses to share their thoughts on the service.
Like everyone over the last few months, the user research team at Companies House has had to adapt its way of working.
An essential part of a user researcher’s role is to plan and design a wide range of research activities with users. Sharing the feedback as a result of these activities informs the development of their services and iteration and helps us to understand the needs of the people who use them.
The team use a variety of different methods to interact with their users. Before lockdown, they would often be out of the office, carrying out contextual inquiry visits with companies, where they learned about their procedures and tried to understand why they do things in a particular way.
Companies House would also conduct usability sessions at both their own usability lab in Companies House and at recruitment agencies across the UK. Sometimes, they’d even be invited to visit people at their homes, particularly if they were carrying out usability sessions with people who used assistive technology.
This gave them valuable insights into their technical set up and how people interacted with our services. But this all came to a halt in March last year.
How they’ve been working differently
The team have had to adapt quickly, but whilst testing remotely was nothing new for them, how would this affect their participants?
They already had experience of using remote software to carry out interviews. This method is typically carried out via a PC or a phone with the aid of video conferencing software. Having this facility already set up was a huge advantage for them.
They were able to hit the ground running and switch all their user research to this method quickly, while they started to think outside the box about other things they could do, over the course of the next few months.
Can you help
The team have been reaching out far and wide via a variety of channels and networks to ask for volunteers to help them with their research during lockdown. The user panel is a community of customers (approximately 4,000 members) who help inform how they develop their online services. It provides an opportunity for these members to have their say about how these services look and feel.
They are now encouraging users from a wide variety of demographics, roles, geographical locations and backgrounds to get involved. Individuals do not need to have used their services to sign up. Companies House welcome people who have used their services in the past, those that intend to use their services in the future and people who have never used their services.
Help them to grow their user panel so that they can continue to make sure that they take a user centered design approach. To find out more and take part in this research, please follow the link here.