When:Oct 2014 to May 2015
Where: Department of Work and Pension
Universal Credit is a major new initiative launched by the Department of Work and Pensions. It is an overhaul of how benefits are paid to those on Job Seekers Allowance, Employment Support Allowance, Child Tax Credit, Tax Credits and Housing benefits.
In December 2014 a digital version of this service went live at Sutton Job Centre Plus.
I led a small team of DWP research staff to understand how the service preformed in a live environment.
Visualisation of multi-channel painpoints
Actions I took
Working with the service centre agents and work coaches, I identified four key touch points at the job centre; the walk in service, scheduled interviews, service centre calls and communication through the Universal Credit website.
I ensured that we had researchers available to cover each of these touch points to give us a complete picture of the service.
Initially we collected our observations on post-it notes and at the end of each day ran affinity sorts to seek out insights.
We soon ran out of wall space, however, and in response I set up an excel database where observations could be entered in a more structured way. A mail merge then allowed us to produce a set of standardised cards.
The insights we gained were organised on a wall with the user journey as an x-axis and the impact on the business as a y-axis. Insights were scored according to a level of confidence and cross referenced to other research such as usability testing.
To draw attention to our work in Sutton, I replicated our insights wall at our main office in Victoria Street, London where our development team was based. I also did regular presentations to raise awareness of our findings.
Our insights highlighted concerns around the agent workflow, in particular the ability to quickly retrieve all the necessary information on a claimant. As a result, the leadership team approved a separate work stream to address these concerns.