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In this issue, we take a deep dive into how teams are doing design research in the Government of Canada (GC). Design research provides qualitative and quantitative data to help make informed decisions on the design of online services. Through constant testing and iteration, research helps us build better services for the public. 
Two design researchers behind a podium, presenting their research in front of a group of 30 people.
Design Research Show & Share 

Last month, our design research team held a Show & Share with 30 researchers from across the GC. The goal of the event was to bring together a community of design researchers and learn from each other’s work and experience.  

So what did we learn? 
We were excited to see that research is included in a wide variety of projects across the GC. Some were broad-ranging and exploratory, while others were more product-focused. Other learnings from the presentations include:

Research methods being used:

  • 30% of the projects used interviewing; 25% used usability testing. The remainder used other methods:

    • 2 to 3 projects mentioned using analytics, participant observation, focus groups, and/or surveys. 

    • 1 project each mentioned: cognitive walkthrough, tree testing, and first-click testing.

Challenges around conducting research inside government:

  • Gaining support from executives and managers for design research. 

  • Recruiting participants and compensating them. 

  • Prioritizing problems to research within an infinite sea of possibilities.

  • Hiring researchers within the limitations of the government classification system.

There’s more to learn!

Are you a researcher who wants to learn from other researchers in the GC? Have you successfully built management support for design research? Do you have a case study to share?

If so, join us at our next Design Research Show & Share:  
August 14 from 1:00-2:30pm EDT

To get involved, email your interest to
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Want to do design research with your team?
We’ve started to put together guides for different research methods. Check out the first two on interviewing and usability testing:
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We need your help!

As a digital service organization, we’re always doing research to make sure we’re building the right things. We’re currently recruiting the following people to research with. If the questions below apply to you, click the respective link to contact the researcher of the project and set up a time to connect.

Are you, or do you know someone who:

In the community:

IPAC Annual Conference: Public Sector Transformation
Winnipeg, August 18-21

Lean Government Summit
Ottawa, October 1-2

Service Design Global Conference
Toronto, October 10-11

Sarah Hurcombe on Human-Centred Design 
OneTeamGov Podcast

Digital Academy 

Service Design Guild
The Ontario Public Service

Work with us!

We're looking for a Partnerships Advisor, Senior Developer, and a Senior Policy Advisor.

If you think one of these could be you, apply to join the team!

We want to hear from you, eh?

What parts of this newsletter did you like most? Is there anything you'd like to see that we haven't talked about?  Let us know.

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Canadian Digital Service · Government of Canada · 219 Laurier Ave W · Ottawa, ON K1P 5J6 · Canada