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Using research and design to increase public engagement and access to UK Government digital services


Paul Fillingham, Founder & Chief Digital Amigo @paulfillingham 

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The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is an executive agency of the UK Department for Transport. It carries out driving tests, approves driving instructors, commercial vehicle operators and MOT testers. DVSA also conducts roadside checks on drivers and vehicles.

The government agency was experiencing low digital adoption among commercial vehicle operators. This behaviour contradicted the positive feedback expressed in exit surveys from the online channel. Little was known about key customer segments and their reluctance to engage with the digital service.

Research activity was based on quantitative analysis of existing data and conducting qualitative, contextual enquiry via roadside interviews in order to challenge the agency assumptions about digital competency, behaviour and motivation.

Research models and methodology:

  • Stakeholder mapping
  • Value-based user-segmentation
  • Public dataset analysis
  • Personas
  • Stakeholder workshops
  • Road-side interviews with commercial vehicle operators
  • Service lifecycle mapping
  • Trends and risk analysis (Brexit, autonomous vehicles, demographics)
  • Gov.UK Design System (GDS) compliance
  • Infographic design
  • Reporting

Research findings were used to inform Traffic Commissioners' design changes on the Gov.UK website to increase user engagement and accelerate channel shift from paper to online. This action aligned with UK Government's overarching digital strategy and satisfied the government agency goals of delivering value for money, enhancing customer experience, and improving road safety through legal compliance.

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