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User Researcher

Posted 4 April by Capita Managed Services Ended

User Researcher

Contract type: Temporary
Contract length: 3 months
Day rate: Up to £400
Location: County Hall, Chelmsford

All about us


Essex County Council is one of the largest local authorities in England. We have an ambitious digital strategy and are embarking on a period of significant change in the way that we do things and the way that our users interact with us.
We are a new Digital Team and need to deliver a number of high profile, user focused projects in the next 12 months. Our goal is to deliver services and information in a simpler, clearer and faster way to our residents and businesses.

The role


We have started a project to improve and consolidate the Essex County Council web estate including essex.gov.uk.
We need user researchers to help service teams build a deep understanding of their users and to reshape their online service offer accordingly.

You will:
* support service managers by generating new and useful user insights using a variety of user research methods
* work closely with designers, analysts and developers to iteratively improve services for users
* have excellent analytical and problem solving skills, and the ability to quickly develop recommendations based on quantitative and qualitative evidence
* be confident in explaining user needs to senior officers and acting as a persuasive advocate for those needs both within the team and the wider organization
* have experience with and be comfortable working with agile development teams


Main responsibilities


* Working with lead user researchers and service managers to develop and advocate appropriate research strategies to understand user needs for a service, and to continually test and improve the service
* Fostering a culture of team involvement in user research, team analysis, design rationale and decision making based on user needs
* Managing and mentoring user researchers and junior user researchers to ensure quality of research, and drive improvements in practice
* Planning, designing, preparing and running user research activities to support the design, development and continuous improvement of digital government services (including contextual discovery, experience mapping, diary studies, early stage concept and prototype testing, lab based and contextual usability and accessibility testing)
* Designing and running contextual and discovery research to develop a deep understanding of the needs of all users of a service
* Managing the usability and accessibility testing process from recruiting participants, designing test tasks, and preparing discussion guides, to test moderation, analysis and presenting results
* Designing, executing and analysing quantitative surveys
* Leading colleagues to analyse research data and synthesis findings so that research is shareable and traceable
* Effectively communicating user research findings to the team and the wider organisation, so that they share a strong and empathetic understanding of their users (including presentations at show and tells, designing and maintaining research outputs on the team wall, formal reports)
* Working closely with designers and developers to turn user research findings into stories and actions that lead to valuable product and service features
* Working closely with analytics colleagues to define user centred KPIs, to create a rich picture of user behaviour to tell the full story of how and why people use our services
* Contributing to the user research community across government, presenting at meetups and writing for the user research blog

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

* Demonstrable knowledge, experience in and passion for user centered design practices for web, service or software development.

* Proven experience of understanding user needs for web content, tools and transactional services, especially those with the most complex user journeys.
* Proven experience of designing, facilitating and analysing a wide range of qualitative and quantitative user research methods.
* Strong understanding of strengths and limitations of different research methods.
* Proven experience of presenting user research findings in a wide variety of formats and contexts
* Proven experience introducing and establishing user research practices in an organisation
* Proven experience of working in an agile development environment with designers and developers and product managers to create new digital products and services
It is desirable that you have:
* Previous experience within government services

Please note that Essex County Council has determined that the off-payroll working rules will apply to this assignment and where a worker elects to provide their services through an intermediary (such as a personal services company) then income tax and primary national insurance contributions will be deducted at source from any payments made to the intermediary.


Essex County Council is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and vulnerable adults, and expects all employees and volunteers to share this commitment.

We seek the best talent from the widest pool of people as diversity is key to our success.

Working for Essex welcome applications from all suitably qualified people regardless of gender, race, disability, age or sexual orientation.

Working for Essex is a trading name of Capita Resourcing Ltd. Services offered are those of an Employment Agency and Employment Business. Applicants will be required to register with us.

Required skills

  • service improvement
  • web content
  • user insight
  • persuasive advocate
  • user research activities
  • digital government services

Reference: 34821078

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