User Researcher

As a user researcher, you will help the team to understand the needs of the people who use the service, including those users who might have impairments and use assistive technologies.

Things to consider as a User Researcher

Make sure the team consider accessibility

As the direct link between the team and the users, it is important that the user researcher makes sure their needs aren’t de-prioritised.

Even before you have identified users in your own service, you can make your team aware of the GOV.UK user profiles and how different impairments might affect people using the service.

Research with a range of users

When doing user research in any phase, it is important to consider the range of people that will use your product or service

By including a wide range of people, we can better understand how the accessibility of the service will impact everybody who needs to use it.

Usability testing

When conducting usability testing, it’s important to understand if it will work on different assistive technologies.

Recruiting and observing users who use devices such as screen readers, screen magnifiers and speech recognition software can help the team to understand if the service is going to be accessible when it goes live.

Usability Testing versus Technical Testing

You should understand the difference between technical accessibility testing and usability testing for accessibility.

Technical testing is where you test your product or service (including prototypes and documents) to ensure it works with assistive software and is perceivable, operable and understandable for all users. Technical testing should not be carried out by users and should cover all content in your product or service.

Usability testing is where you enlist the help of users to check how usable a product or service is.

Something can be technically accessible, but not usable. Likewise, content can be usable but not technically accessible (experienced assistive software users often have to find workarounds to carry out a task).

Technical testing should be done before usability testing. Anything that you put in front of users should be technically accessible.