Companies House Service Design
Since the start of this year we've been working with Companies House to provide staff training in service design methods and the application of, in particular, helping them to discover how service users connect and use their online service for filing and searching accounts.
From an intial service design workshop at Cardiff University Business School, we were commissioned to support Companies House in the research and creation of primary personas. Our qualitative approach to research would provide the in-house Customer In-sight team with a series of persona observations, giving them valuable information that will help them deliver a more user centred digital service.
In order for the persona suite to provide the right kind of insights, we proposed to gather the following information:
- Insights about external factors that influences the way a user uses the online service in context of their working environment, such as; time taken, broadband speed, type of computer used, busyness, attention span and other influences.
- A profile of the service user, such as their job, role, position, experience and professional capability.
- Personal preferences, values and behaviours that extend to their hobbies and lifestyle.
- Insights about their issues, thoughts, positives/negatives around using the service and how they might be interested to use techonology to make use of joint filing with HMRC.
This allows Companies House to view information about the realities of different types of users and how they engage with their services. This is important as they can connect with real people rather than relying on statistics to make business decisions.
The personas allow Companies House to make better decisions from understanding user behaviour. They uncovered user values and brought forward user problems/service pain.
Each persona was clearly identified as a searcher of a company, a filer of information or both. From an informal discussion in their workplace, we worked through a defined list of talking points. We sorted the responses and compared and presented answers from the users thoughts, behaviours and real experiences rather than facts and definitives.
Once the suite had been delivered, we ran a workshop for various staff through the departments of Companies House and showed them how to effectively apply the personas to their area of expertise.
These tools have been developed as a starting point for the development of new products; in particular to help development teams in the design process empathise with users by understanding behaviours, goals and expectations, considering functionality and design from the perspective of each persona.