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Assisted Digital should be part of your research plan

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During the Digital by Default Service Assessment, every service will be assessed on whether the service team has identified who will need digital assistance and how best to provide it.

You will need to do regular user research to get this right. In this post, I’ll talk about what assisted digital means, giving you a good foundation to get started.

1. Assisted digital is not about creating a new service or channel

Assisted digital is about creating a sustainable and practical way to support someone to use the same digital service that confident users access.

2. Assisted digital research is not the same as accessibility testing

An assisted digital user is someone who needs help using a digital government service. This includes people who are offline with no digital skills, and people who are online but have limited digital skills.

Assisted digital research should not be mistaken for accessibility testing. The audience for accessibility testing includes users who access the service via a range of assistive technologies (eg screen readers or voice recognition software). There are many people who use such technologies but are digitally proficient and don’t need assisted digital help.

3. For your assisted digital service think about how the support is delivered and by whom

Assisted digital support is delivered in 2 key ways:

  • over the telephone, with someone guiding the user through the service or inputting information into a system on their behalf
  • in person, through a home visit or at the support provider’s location (eg high street or office)

However it is delivered, assistance should include an element of learning for the user. This will help encourage future independent transactions, where possible.

4. Who’s responsible for delivering assisted digital support?

It’s the department’s responsibility to ensure their users get the support they need.

Departments can provide this support in-house (eg through their own contact centres). Or they can provide it through organisations from the private, voluntary or public sectors. GDS can help you to decide the best way to deliver your assisted digital.

Assisted digital researcher talking to a user

We’re here to help

We’ve been working with service teams to identify what their assisted digital user journey could look like.

GDS also has a dedicated team who will support you with guidance, contacts and advice to help with your assisted digital research.

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