I have been a user-centred researcher and designer for over 20 years.
I’ve worked in the public and private sector, in agency and internal roles, and in industries including media, finance, banking, ecommerce and in the 3rd sector.
I have a BSc in Computer science and a BA in Sociology and Psychology from the University of NSW, Australia.
Some of my favourite pieces of work are described below:
- A 12 week user-centred design academy
- Government digital services - Lead designer
- Improving equity & inclusion in the design community
- Bringing UCD to a Brexit data project
- Delivering training as an agile service
- Leading design in the Land Registry exemplar
- NHS Digital - Equity and inclusion in digital services, and UCD maturity and capability
A 12 week user-centred design academy
I created and ran a 12 week user-centred design academy in 2022 with Mark Wright, at an agency. We took 12 people and kick-started their UCD careers in the public sector. It was one of the most rewarding, fun and successful things I’ve done in my working life.
Some of our aims for the academy were:
- Grow the design and research community at the agency
- Improve the diversity and equity of the agency
- Provide a pathway for entering design and research in tech for people who don’t have education or experience in this sector
You can read my weeknotes from the academy (which stopped in week 7 because I was heavily pregnant).
If you’d like me to run something similar for you please, please get in touch. I’d jump at the opportunity to do it again.
Government digital services - Lead designer
I worked at the Government Digital Service (GDS) as a Lead Designer for 8 years, 2014-2022.
The focus of my work at GDS was:
- Equity, inclusion and sustainability in the design of services
- Building capability and growing communities
- Embedding and enabling user-centred design (UCD) in teams and organisations
- Guiding decision making and strategy to enable UCD
At GDS I developed and ran 7 training courses for the cross-government community, training 1000s of civil servants. I also worked on many services with teams and departments across government and I assessed 28 services.
Improving equity & inclusion in the design community
Institutional and systematic oppression exists in the UK and manifests in the services which we design and deliver to users.
The GDS design team, the cross government design community, and the wider design industry is not diverse, equitable or inclusive enough.
We need to do better to deliver more equitable services.
During my time as a lead designer at GDS, I worked to improve the diversity and inclusion in the design team, and to improve awareness of equity and justice in the work GDS delivered.
What I did:
- Created a training course called Power & Privilege in public services, with Sonia Turcotte.
- Ran an annual demographic survey
- Ran careers events for underrepresented groups
- Changed the way the design team meetings worked
- Improved the transparency of the management team
- Ran training courses for underrepresented groups in UCD
- Helped establish a diversity and inclusion working group
- Improved the recruitment process
- Ran a mentoring scheme and a buddy scheme
- Encourage the team to be open about this work through blogging, talking, sharing and tweeting
- We trained over 100 people in Power and privilege in public services
- The number of BAME people on the GDS design team increased by 9.5% in 12 months
- We ran careers events 7 times for over 450 attendees
- The work I led has been copied across GDS and throughout government and wider industry
Bringing UCD to a Brexit data project
GDS was engaged to provide support and expertise to deliver a project and milestone tracking dashboard urgently - an interim solution was already in place and the next iteration was being procured at pace.
My task was to design a service which was useful to government and also met the needs of its users. The biggest challenge was creating a team environment which allowed this to happen.
What I did:
- Mapped and visualised the service
- Engaged the team in research and design
- Engaged and challenged stakeholders
- Created a high-fidelity HTML prototype
- Embed UCD in the team
- Kept the team vision on track
Delivering training as an agile service
I developed and delivered 3 training courses alongside the Head of Service design at GDS (Martin Jordan):
- Introduction to service design (1 day)
- Service design in practice (2 days)
- Service mapping (1 day)
We conducted research with trainees after every course and quickly tested and changed the course content, material and structure.
We created a support framework for people who attended the training, including a mailing list for alumni and monthly meetups which became “Discuss a design challenge”.
I ran special editions of the course for specific teams, disciplines and audiences. We adapted the course for different audiences and for remote training as needed.
Leading design in the Land Registry exemplar
The Land Registry exemplar was one of 25 exemplar projects chosen to launch GDS’s digital transformation of the UK government.
The challenge was to fundamentally transform how the Land Registry worked and how they thought about their services and users. We wanted to give the Land Registry a new vision for their organisation.
What I did:
- I designed and visualised a total transformation of the ‘Buy a property’ service.
- I embedded the practice of UCD into the team, guiding and demonstrating best practice and leading the design work on the team.
- I designed and rapidly iterated prototypes at different levels of fidelity, engaged in user research, and design decisions based on research insights.
- I championed UCD in the team and throughout the Land Registry.
- I grew the capability of the researchers and designers in the Land Registry by coaching, mentoring and running training courses.
NHS Digital - Equity and inclusion in digital services, and UCD maturity and capability
It was a fascinating, complex and exciting piece of work.
I examined the barriers to UCD in NHS Digital, worked with senior leaders and the design and research communities to decide on the best intervention to address these barriers, and designed and ran a new training course called Advocating for UCD.
Sonia and I ran the Power and privilege training course 3 times, training nearly 50 people. We also worked with existing teams and people in NHS Digital who were working to increase the equity of their services. We co-designed a consequence scanning workshop with the department, and delivered a presentation with our 5 recommendations for the organisation to leaders at different levels.
Our thoughts and findings are captured in the weeknotes we wrote during this piece of work.