I'm Nick Buckland, a User Researcher based at HMRC's digital delivery centre in Worthing - around 25 minutes on the train from Brighton. I’ve been working with HMRC for 18 months now, and have 11 years of experience in market and user research after finishing postgraduate study in psychology.
I’ve recently made the move to Brighton and I’m sold. Working on the south coast is great, particularly in the summer. The sun comes out a lot and there’s music, food and BBQs everywhere. My commute involves riding my bike back along the coast and having a dip in the sea. It makes a nice change to the tubes and traffic jams of the capital. But London is still close if I need a city fix.
I plan and run research projects that help me understand the behaviours and motivations of people using HMRC services and how the service needs to be designed in order to meet those needs. I work closely with the service teams building the services to help them better understand their customers needs.
User research is a team sport. When we plan and run research we work together with people with a wide range of skills - from interaction designers to business analysts and developers - to make sure the whole team learns from our users and the services we design and build fit the bill. At the moment I’m working with accountants and software developers to understand their perspectives on HMRC's plans to modernise and digitise the tax system. Day-to-day I’m doing lots of interviewing, site visits and testing of prototypes.
The work is both fascinating and challenging. We work with some really talented people and I’ve learned a great deal in the time I’ve been here. The research team work as a unit, supporting each other’s efforts with experience and insights from industry, academia, psychology and design. We work to the Government Digital Service Standard which is exacting, and places user research front and centre. It also means we’re busy!
If you're interested in working on a varied projects, in an environment where you'll be encouraged to try out new research methods and inform the design of services which change the lives of millions in the UK then why not join us at HMRC Worthing. I’ll get the barbie on!