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How to write user needs for GOV.WALES.

First published:
24 April 2019
Last updated:

What is a user need?

‘User needs’ are the needs that members of the public, businesses and partners have of Welsh Government. These are the users of GOV.WALES.

Every part of GOV.WALES should have a valid user need. This ensures that we are building services and content for these users.

People visit GOV.WALES with a specific task in mind. For example how to apply for a bus pass or buying and selling a house in Wales.

Creating good user needs means that we can produce content designed for those who use our site. This will help them find the things on GOV.WALES that they need.

Who is the user

This is your audience. Keep it specific - do not refer to your users as ‘everyone’ or ‘citizens of Wales’. Each policy area will have a specific group as well as individuals who have an interest in the topic or subject. They will have different needs depending on what they want to do.

For example, someone who is looking to apply for free childcare. This includes parents or someone who has legal responsibility, such as grandparents. These do not need separate user needs.

How to write a user need

To create content for GOV.WALES you must start with the user needs.

Work with other teams and content owners to develop these. Sit and talk with them about the user needs of their content and outline the reasons to this approach. This helps to encourage teams to think about who this piece of content affects. Discuss what users need to do with the content. This avoids focusing on the end product, such as a report to publish on GOV.WALES.

All content on GOV.WALES must follow this template:

As a… [who is the user?]
I need to… [what does the user want to do?]
So that… [why does the user want to do this?]

Good example

‘As a tenant living in a property, I need to find help about a problem with my lease, so I can resolve it.’

This is a valid user need because it does not include a solution to the issue. More than one piece of content could be required to ensure that the user need is met. This could include:

  • a guide
  • separate publications listed in a collection
  • multipage guide

Bad example

‘As a tenant living in a property, I need to contact the Leasehold Advisory Service, so that I can raise and resolve my problem.’

This is a bad example because it includes a suggested solution which may not be correct. Assuming things during the design process can often be wrong. Always look for the best solution to meet the user need.

Acceptance criteria

Write a list of what needs to be done for the user need to be met. For example, based on the above example:

  • understands how leasehold works in Wales
  • understands they know what to do if there is a problem with a leasehold or wants to buy one
  • understands how to resolve issues

What users need to do

User needs and content on GOV.WALES musts be based on an action or task. Think about what users need to do.

Active user needs include:

  • apply
  • appeal
  • pay for
  • submit
  • request

Avoid using:

  • understand
  • know
  • be aware of

You should only use ‘understand’ if the user needs to know it to be able to complete a task, such as a legal requirement.

Good example

As a care home manager, I need to know what the national minimum standards are for my service. So that I can ensure that the care and service I provide for the people I look after complies with the law.

Bad example

As a care home manager, I need to know about national minimum standards for my service, so that I am informed.