Project: Office for National Statistics website

Probably my most all encompassing project to date. I helped the ONS deliver a user research strategy through all the stages of agile service delivery, whilst ensuring everything was aligned to the Government Digital Service Standard.

  • Services

    Interaction design
    Usability testing
    Information Architecture
    Service design

  • Tools and tech

    OptimalSort & Treejack
    Usability Hub

  • Website


I started by conducting lots of user interviews to discover the users, their needs and try out some early paper prototypes and low-fidelity wireframes to sanity check the initial approach.


Armed with a very rough idea of what might be built it was time to workshop ideas, create wireframes and prototypes and test them with users. Working in Google style design sprints it was quick and easy to develop many approaches and see what worked best.

At the end I went along to the Government Digital Service Assessment with the clients’ service manager and tech lead and presented the UX work…

It passed and the project moved to beta…


The beta was an opportunity to do more of everything. More wireframing. More prototyping. More information architecture. I adopted an A-Z of user research including formal usability testing, user interviews, card sorts and tree tests, online remote testing and a huge amount of supporting unmoderated testing and surveys.

A labour of love. The ‘Wall of Web’ became the teams go to place for reviewing user journeys, user flows and functional variations.

To help the ONS build for the future I created an informal pattern library in Sketch

Towards the end of the project, myself and the client’s new junior user researcher took to the road to test the website as far and wide as we could.

UX really is a team sport and we shared findings, videos and insights with the entire team in each sprint.

I wrote a guest blog post on the subject on the client’s blog.


Again, I presented the user research approach to the good folks at the Government Digital Service Assessment. Happily, the service passed and the project was approved for live!

Want to find out more?

Matt Jukes, Head of Product (@jukesie) delivered a fantastic presentation on the subject at IWMW2016, where he detailed the approach and some of the issues and challenges he and his team faced during the project.

You can also find out more about the taxonomy project which I presented, alongside Matt, at World IA Day in Manchester.