assisted digital user research

Assisted digital is support for people who can’t use online government services on their own. This could be because they’re not connected to the internet. Or it might be because they don’t have much digital experience, ability, confidence or motivation. Assisted digital support needs to be an integral part of the new digital services we’re developing.

So what assisted digital research have we done?

Assisted digital has been part of the user research I’ve been doing from day one. For our new digital services, we need to make sure we cater for assisted digital users. We want them to be easy to use, so that as many people as possible can use them without any support.

I’m currently running research with a wide range of users (including those in remote locations), so we can get rid of anything that confuses people. As a team, we’ve also been talking to other groups outside of Land Registry. This includes Citizens Advice Bureau, libraries, The Insolvency Service and DVLA. This has helped us to identify user journeys for those that don’t feel comfortable online. Other research has included running workshops with assisted digital leads at Government Digital Service (GDS).

At Land Registry, we’ve done surveys and visited our customer contact centre in Wales. This gave me a real insight into how our staff help people using our current services (I listened to lots of telephone conversations). We already offer assisted digital support when our customers contact us. This could be guiding a customer through an online service over the phone, or face to face at one of our offices.

I’ve also been getting advice from Land Registry’s Diversity Working Group and assisted digital experts at GDS.

We asked our customer contact centres to run surveys for us. All this has helped us understand the barriers assisted digital users face and helped us think about how we could reduce them.

We have and continue to test with users in a usability lab at GDS. In the sessions we are gaining insights into the usability issues they could have throughout their journey and their needs about assisted digital support.

What’s next?

All of our ongoing assisted digital research means we’ll be in a good position to make recommendations about suitable support for our new Land Registry services. We’ll continue to test and improve as the new services go live.

When I started as a User Researcher back in January it was a steep learning curve for me. I had no idea what assisted digital is and how I would go about finding assisted digital users. Nine months on, I can say with confidence that no stone has been left unturned…

Working on this project from the start of the Beta phase has really helped me to understand user needs and ensure that we develop a service which is intuitive. I am looking forward for this project to go into Public beta, as the journey does not end there.


Zaffreen Akhtar
By Zaffreen Akhtar,
User Researcher at HM Land Registry