User research at dxw

At dxw, we believe in starting with people and their needs.

As user researchers, we help multidisciplinary teams learn about all the different people who will use and be affected by a service. And help organisations to recognise the value of user research.

There is no single right way of doing this, but as a team, we need to stay unified in the way we approach, do, and talk about research.

User research principles #

Our principles are not rules. They guide our work, keep us improving as a team, and working with, not for our clients.

  1. Help teams understand people

    Researchers at dxw help our teams build a deep understanding of the people who use our services. We know that‘s the best way to create public services that work well for the people who need them.

    We are facilitators, not gatekeepers. We actively involve our colleagues and clients in research. And openly share what we do, how we do it and why it‘s important.

  2. Find the truth. Tell the truth

    Researchers at dxw create strong evidence and reliable answers so our teams can act with confidence. We are bold and focus on what‘s most important.

    We know we can learn things that are unexpected and challenging. So we communicate clearly and sensitively to help everyone make the best decision.

    (Credit to the great Dana Chisnell and the United States Digital Service for this one)

  3. Take ethics seriously

    Researchers at dxw know that the safety and trust of participants is our responsibility. We think about the ethics of our research at every step. From how we recruit participants and get their informed consent, through how we store and use the data we collect, to how we share our findings.

  4. Be methodical, but not rigid

    Researchers at dxw know that the quality of our findings depends on the quality of our methods. We use tried and tested methods, and take time to reflect and continually improve our practice.

    But we also understand that context is important. So we use the best approach for the question at hand and adapt our ways of working to fit the client and the project.

  5. Learn, share and adapt

    Researchers at dxw work in an agile way. We do research and analysis in small batches so we can continuously share and adapt to what we learn.

  6. Make research inclusive

    Researchers at dxw know how important it is that public services work for all the people who need to use them. We help teams understand the needs of all their users, and do research activities that everyone can participate in.

  7. Build on existing evidence

    Researchers at dxw help clients build on the knowledge and data they already have. We combine existing knowledge, poorly understood data and new research into a coherent picture.

  8. Accept and admit constraints

    Researchers at dxw do the best research we can within the constraints we have. We acknowledge and share the limits of our research and our findings. And we advocate for more research when it‘s needed to achieve the project outcomes.

User research guidance #

The Playbook includes detailed guidance on how we do user research at dxw.

These guides start with the user research workflow, which describes the things that user researchers usually do on projects, and then provides further guidance and links to resources for specific topics.

User researcher professional development #

We have a set of worksheets to help researchers with professional reflection and to inform learning and development plans. The tools cover our principles and workflow, and our most important methods and skills.