User research prototype

I’ve read blogs in the past, but I’ve never written one so bear with me. I’m a User Researcher, working on the development of our new digital services, and have been for exactly 39 days so not what you’d call vastly experienced. As a result this blog won’t include any long words or swathes of technical information; my knowledge of long words is limited and my technical ability even more so.

Aspects of my new job are about as far removed from my previous role in Land Registry casework as you could probably get and today is a good example of that. I am currently sat in an office in central London called Bunnyfoot. To me Bunnyfoot is like a pet name I might give to my wife; not necessarily somewhere you’d expect to find half a dozen Land Registry civil servants on a cold Tuesday morning.

Bunnyfoot is actually a wonderful place where you can test a digital prototype with real people, we’re using it to test our citizen facing services. The benefit of Bunnyfoot is that the development team can watch the prototype being tested on a TV from a neighbouring room, without the volunteer feeling overwhelmed. This works because results are not based on opinion, but people actually using stuff. The result is that they’re often far more open than they might have been if they were surrounded by a group of people hanging on every word they say. It also gives you the chance to act on what’s been said straight away and test the changes you make immediately on the next person. Rarely do you get to see a return on the work you do so quickly and the instant feedback is invaluable. The sessions are also recorded so can be revisited at a later date, pertinent points extracted and edited to show to colleagues who were unable to attend, or are simply interested in what you do.

So with a fresh cup of coffee in my hand and with the next volunteer arriving soon, I’m going to wrap this up. As it happens I’m really quite enjoying this job.

David Ware
By David Ware,
User Researcher at HM Land Registry