Shaping the future of NHS Jobs: User research

My job is to speak to the people using NHS Jobs to make sure we're building the future service in the best possible way.

It’s not just about “business needs”

We want to make sure NHS Jobs is fit for purpose, easy to use and works well for the people that matter – our users.

Giving users a sneaky peek

I do research with a variety of people in a variety of settings. Essentially, it’s my job to dip into someone’s pain points and the frustrations they face every working day.

At the moment I'm working with hiring managers in employers like GP practices, who may only need to recruit a handful of new members of staff each year. I'll usually do a usability test with them - giving them a prototype of the new NHS Jobs platform and asking them to act out how they would use it. It helps me understand if we're building the right thing, if not, why not, and what we can do about it.

How do I summarise my day when no two days are the same?

We work on a two week, iterative cycle. So, in theory, the team can be releasing new functionality all the time, building on what they’ve already done. The research I do supports that.

I’ll work with the team to identify a topic or a part of the service that we need to develop.

I'll figure out a research method based on what it is we need to understand. Different methods suit different topics. Need a tonne of people to answer a couple of quick questions? Then it’s a survey. Need to understand in depth the pain and frustration someone feels? Use an interview or usability test. Need to figure out if you're putting things in the right place on your service? Then it’s a Treejack test.

Once I know how we’re going to do the research, I'll run a question and assumption mapping session with the team. We get into the detail of what we’re testing and make sure we've identified all the things we need to know from our users.

I’m always on the hunt for new people who want to get involved in our research

I have a certain quota of people I need to speak to every fortnight to make sure our results are valid. I use information and feedback from my research to inform the team about what we should be doing next. One or two people can be the difference between being able to make recommendations with confidence or not.

Crunching the numbers

Once I've got all the data, it’s my job to analyse it.

Because the data we receive is qualitative in nature, I tend to use a technique called thematic analysis or affinity mapping. This groups common findings together, so we can see what things are coming up most often and rate our findings according to severity of impact.

Shaping the future service

User research can very rewarding. The best part of my job is seeing the way your recommendations shape and evolve the service. And I can’t wait to see the finished product when NHS Jobs finally launches in 2020.

We’re currently looking for people to get involved in your user research and feedback sessions in March. Contact Sarah at to get involved in a way that suits you.

Keep an eye on future newsletters for updates and previews of the new service. In the meantime, if you have any questions, comments or feedback, contact the team and we’ll be happy to help. Contact us at