Weeknote 25th November 2022 – A busy week of interviewing and workshops

This week I spent a big chunk of time working on this round of research I’ve been doing to understand file upload and optional questions.

Much of this was running interviews with people across various government departments. It’s been complicated as there is a shared need for users to add additional documents to send in with their forms, but the way this need is currently met is approached in very different ways. It’s been interesting digging in to, and I’ve had to refine the way I am talking about things and the questions I am asking as I go as I have learned more about the needs and the different ways they are being met.

I’ve also done some catching up on the work our design team have been doing on questions that autofill. This is a feature to allow people creating forms with our product to create questions that take advantage of autofill when the public fill them in. It’s something that forms need to do in order to satisfy the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. It’s an interesting challenge to work out how to support less digitally confident people to implement something like this that is on the face of it quite technical. It’s very important though – one of the big reasons we’re creating the product is to allow people to create accessible forms. The design team has done some great looking work on this, and my fellow user Researcher on the team has started testing it, so I was just getting up to date and bearing in mind for future work.

The file upload work was meant to also collect some feeback on optional question, but this hasn’t really worked. The reason for this is it turns out the people who are most affected by file upload issues are not that affected by how optional questions are presented. It’s still an open question to me whether anyone has strong opinions about how optional questions are presented – as so far everyone I’ve shared our options with doesn’t seem to mind. However, I want to get some feedback from people whose job is more focused on keying in information from forms to make sure. I began to explore tracking some people down for interviews, then I realised that it’s such a quick bit of feedback that a survey would probably work best. It’s a while since I did a survey, although they used to be very regular in my old job. So I turned my survey skills back on and was reminded that they are often a bit trickier to get right than you think when you’re in qualitative interview mode. Put one together though and have started circulating it – hopefully I’ll find out next week whether people really do have opinions on this or not.

We finished a sprint and started a new one, so also did some retrospecting, so planning and some documenting for that. With two week sprints user research doesn’t always neatly fit into them, although I do try to keep to that momentum as much as possible. In this case my pieces of work are spanning across sprints really, but aiming to round them all off this sprint to slot back into that rhythm for the next sprint.

Amongst all this I squeezed in a morning’s workshop with a new partner department we are working with. The workshop involved exploring the process that their users and themselves go through for one of their forms. We’ll be working with them to build an online version of this form with our product over the next few weeks.

Now I reflect on it, I’ve got a lot done this week!

Next week I am doing lots of analysis of the work I’ve done the past few weeks and sharing back with the team. Hopefully I’ll get some surveys back, and we’re also doing an initial workshop with another partner department. Then I am off for a long weekend away.






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