Democracy Service design

Usable to Understandable to Responsible

Rachel Coldicutt – Doteveryone
This is a great set of slides which (among other things) teases out the idea of ‘needs’ in relation to public services, clearly and powerfully making the point that it is not enough just to consider the needs of individual end users.

The picture is in the presentation, but came originally from a post by Cassie Robinson a few months ago. The GDS admonition to start with user needs is not wrong (quite the contrary), but there will rarely, if ever, be a single set of answers. And as Tom Loosemore observed, prompted by that illustration and quoting Richard Pope, ‘sometimes the user need is democracy’.

But there is more to the presentation than just that insight, important though it is. Ease of use is not the same as depth of understanding, and the simplicity of a service design does not mean that it is simple or self-contained in the way people come to it and use it. Needs are important, but so are interests – which means that service design has to embrace much more than the transactional experience.