This week news of an office move at GDS, as well as new developments on open standards and the launch of Go ON North East. Rewired State are holding a Parliament Hack Day on 16 and 17 November, Ben Terrett and Josh Marshall are speaking at ‘Making public services accessible‘, Dublin, and we say goodbye to Rebecca Kemp.
Posts from the ‘Assisted Digital’ Category
Last week, Mark McLeod, Richard Smith and I visited Leicester Pension Service. We wanted to see first-hand how a major transactional government service operates, hear from front-line staff, and find out more about the needs of older users (who are more likely to be offline).
Over the past two weeks, the assisted digital project with the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design has evolved from understanding the reasons that older people are either not online at all or are only partially online, to developing ideas for potential design solutions.
I have been exploring how assisted digital support can meet the needs of older people with users at the Age UK Hackney computer centre and at New Horizons community centre in Chelsea. Though ‘older people’ is often defined as those aged 65 and over, I use a broader definition of the term, including people aged 50 and over in my research, who span middle and older ages. (This does make a difference to Internet use, GDS’ Digital Landscape Research shows that 30% of those aged 55-64 are offline, while 41% of those aged 65 and over are offline.)
My user research sessions serve two primary aims:
- uncover technical or cultural problems
- test possible solutions to these problems
We’ve put together a video on the assisted digital team, showing a bit about who we are and what we do. Thanks to Graham Higgins and Giles Turnbull for making this for us, following their previous excellent work introducing the Transformation team, Finance team, Hosting and Infrastructure team, User research team, Procurement team and the Product analysts.
We’ve started a project with the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design about how assisted digital support can meet the needs of older people. Peter Ziegler is leading the project and is a specialist in design research in older people and technology. The concepts he develops will inform the wider work we are doing on assisted digital, including our work with the 25 exemplar services.
My name is Peter Ziegler. I am a design researcher from the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design (HHCD), part of the Royal College of Art, working with GDS on a project on assisted digital. As part of the project, I will design assisted digital interactions and interfaces to get digital by default services to the 18% of the population that are not online. I’ll do this through intensive research and testing with older people. By focusing on this group, I hope to develop design outputs that address the needs of a broad range of assisted digital users.
‘What about people who aren’t online?’ is a question we’re often asked on the assisted digital team. So we decided to run a workshop at GDS’ Sprint Alpha event on 17th July to answer it.
Rebecca Kemp and Richard Smith kicked off the workshop by outlining the two projects GDS and departments are working on together to ensure that people who aren’t online can use digital government services: assisted digital and digital inclusion.
A few months ago Ben Terrett, Russell Davies and I were asked to give a brief to Goldsmiths BA Design course. Matt Ward, the programme leader, contacted us to give the students an opportunity to work on a ‘real life’ brief – something hugely valuable to both them and to us.
Four of the class presented their projects on digital by default and assisted digital to GDS a couple of weeks ago. We wanted to share the results so you can see three totally different takes on the subject.
This comes with a big disclaimer: these are the ideas of some talented design students, not the plans of the government. There are reasons why these ideas might not be appropriate in their current form. But the value for me was in hearing ideas from people who aren’t constrained by what might be pragmatic (or palatable) for government!
We know that great work is already going on inside and outside government to help people use digital services. We’re collecting examples to share as best practice and to learn from as we develop ideas for assisted digital support. We’ve come across some really exciting work happening at Stevenage Jobcentre Plus (JCP). Read more
Last week we held our first ‘market engagement’ event for suppliers interested in providing assisted digital support for government services. It was really popular – so much so that we had to open another session so everyone who wanted to could attend. The structure of the event was simple: we gave an introduction to assisted digital, and then departments (Department for Transport, HM Revenue & Customs, Department for Work & Pensions and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) gave an early view of their requirements for assisted digital support (in other words, the types of support they might want to commission from suppliers). The Government Procurement Service (GPS) outlined the current commercial strategy – following on from the publication in May of a Prior Information Notice in the European Journal.
All the materials from the event have now been published. We got some great contributions from the potential suppliers, and we’re really grateful to our colleagues from departments who presented and to the suppliers who came along.