Survey significance

Last week we launched a survey over on the website to capture some up to date feedback from our users.

The questions are quite a bit different than past ‘satisfaction surveys’ we have undertaken for a couple of reasons. For a start we are pretty sure what the underlying level of satisfaction is with the site. Anecdotal feedback continues to come in via social media, our call centre and general conversation with our users and we know the site, while slowly improving, remains a long way from meeting expectations.

There are plans in process to speed up improvements with some significant changes before Christmas and then early in 2014 but for more fundamental changes we need to get better at understanding about how and why people use the site and that is the main reason for the change in the survey.

While ONS has embraced using a user-driven approach for some time it is clear that the profile of our user base is changing (or at least widening) and the aim of this survey is to give us a foundation in to understanding the goals of our users (as well as their backgrounds). This will underpin some work being doing by Pure Usability for us to start coming up with a new set of personas for us to use and also for us to get a clearer idea of some high level user stories. Clearly the survey itself is just one element and we’ll be backing it up with interviews, analytics data and workshops but it is a vital part.

We are closely following the guidance from the Government Digital Service and are currently undertaking what they refer to as the ‘Discovery‘ phase where user research is key. The more we know the better informed decisions made about future developments will be and the happier everyone will end up.

We will share the outcomes of this research (and everything else we undertake) here on the blog and as ever we welcome any comments.