https://hmrcdigital.blog.gov.uk/2017/08/15/making-life-easier-for-our-users/

Making life easier for our users

I’m Jen Rahman, an Interaction Designer working in HMRC’s Newcastle Digital Delivery Centre. I help make our digital services easy for customers to use and navigate – it’s fast-paced, interesting, challenging (at times), but also rewarding. We've got some vacancies so want to know more about what an Interaction Designer does?

HMRC digitalWhen a customer has their screen in front of them and goes to log into their personal or business tax account they normally have an action in mind they want to complete with us. A large part of my role involves understanding how I can make this task as easy as possible for them. Understanding what the design obstacles are from my team members helps me quickly start to visualise what sort of design solutions I can start to sketch out or even mock up within a browser.

I work in a small team made up of a range of different specialists. I work very closely with my team’s Business Analyst and Product Manager to understand what needs to be obvious for the user, what needs to be easy, and what needs to be possible within our service - making the user’s life easy when interacting with the service.

Teamwork
My colleagues

My role is about helping the team understand what hard work we need to do on behalf of the user, and I regularly create high level flows of user journeys as well as describe the smaller details that occur to help the user more.

As the work progresses, usually at speed, each further design iteration is then based on research with users. I work closely with my team’s User Researcher to test the latest design prototype, observing first-hand how it is used by real-life users in similar scenarios. Watching usability testing is an incredible experience and really helps me shape the design of the service.

During my two years here I’ve been lucky to be involved in a variety of different projects, including one that lets customers check how much Income Tax they paid last year . I’ve been involved with that one right from the beginning Discovery phase and have iterated the prototype all the way up to its 40th (current) iteration. Being involved in such a mighty service has been an incredibly exciting and rewarding opportunity.

Working in an agile way, with a close-knit team and in a great environment is an amazing experience, and it’s hugely rewarding to know that my design work is helping millions of users seamlessly complete their interactions with HMRC.

Jen

HMRC is currently recruiting for 11 Interaction Designers in London, Shipley, Telford, Newcastle and Worthing - visit our vacancies page to find out more.

 

4 comments

  1. Comment by J.B.Lockyer-Nibbs posted on

    Many years ago when my career moved to helping your customers with tax returns and related problems, HMRC used to stress how important agents were to them, because they overcame customers problems before they reached HMRC staff. From the other side customers wanted as little to do with HMRC requirements as possible, provided the agent told them the right amount of tax to pay and so they could sleep easily at night.
    HMRC's attitude to agents has now changed with design directed at the customer and the agent only involved as an add on often at a delayed date.This makes our relationship with clients more difficult as the customers now have to have a direct involvement with HMRC. The customer wants to avoid this which is why they employ the agent.
    +Can you have someone on your team to input for the agent please.

    • Replies to J.B.Lockyer-Nibbs>

      Comment by Jen Rahman posted on

      Hi J.B,

      Whenever we start designing and building new services we always consider all user groups in order to provide the best possible experience for everyone.

      Our Scrum team's work on a vast range of digital services, catering to the user needs of individual users as well as agents.

      These user needs are the driving force behind the iterative work that the team work towards. Each service is also usability tested by our User Researcher's every sprint with specific user groups, ensuring that our digital services are purpose built specifically with our users in mind from the very beginning.

      Our scrum team's have already overcome some challenging obstacles when it comes to security aspects of users authorising agents to act on their behalf, creating seamless online interactions within services.
      There is also some exciting work commencing at the moment as a proof of concept within the PAYE sphere, specifically designed for agent use, so watch this space!

  2. Comment by Bob posted on

    who is the Product Owner then ? i thought you had Product Managers and DSM's ?

    • Replies to Bob>

      Comment by Jen Rahman posted on

      Hi Bob

      We do have Product Managers and DSM's (Digital Service Managers) and sometimes call them a collective Product Owner. I've changed the word in the blog to remove any confusion.

      Jen