https://digitalmarketplace.blog.gov.uk/2014/04/11/user-research-in-the-lab/

User research in the lab

User research session

We’re now at the stage where we’re putting our prototype of the new Digital Marketplace in front of buyers. Last week we held a user research session and invited five buyers to start to play with the new design and give us their thoughts. Some of the most interesting themes to emerge were around the procurement process, understanding technologies, and the understanding the true cost of services.

Buying with requirements

“I would have done research upfront, before I come here”

The Digital Marketplace will be used for different types of procurement, in different contexts and departments, with different users. That means a lot of different, unique buying scenarios. But there are some things that should be common for any buying activity, for example to start with requirements which means research and understanding what to buy, for whom and why.

Learning about technology

“It is the ability to make mistakes without consequence. It is not like a normal procurement, where as soon as you announce something you have to get everything right”

Buyers reported that the Digital Marketplace can be a space where they can learn. The ability to be able to search for something without starting a procurement, to learn about the marketplace, what kinds of services are available and how best to use the catalogue was seen as a massive plus.

There was still some confusion over the category names, what the words mean, and what each category would contain. On a positive note, expanding the lot names from SaaS to ‘Software as a service’ made the categories more clear.

What will it cost?

“These headline numbers are almost always wrong. One number can’t cover all different scenarios.”

Price was a big concern for buyers. 4 out of the 5 buyers had previously bought on the current CloudStore, and had experienced confusion or misinformation in the prices of listings. They felt that the price displayed in listings was not the price that they would end up paying for a product.

Buyers also highlighted that often price varies depending on the project’s needs, and so they wanted to see a price relevant to them, and their situation.

Would price be better left off service listings? Or is it better to make it more clear what that price relates to - what particular set-up results in that price. Or can we display a price tailored for a particular buyer?

Research is ongoing

We have sessions every two weeks and it's important for us to get as many people involved in the process as possible. To join in, fill in the survey which can be found at the end of this blog post.

1 comment

  1. Andy Powell

    From a supplier's perspective...

    Price feels pretty much useless. The offers are too variable.

    In the early phases of a procurement, I doubt that price can ever be made into a simple but meaningful comparison for buyers are comparing a lot of services. And later on, when looking at a smaller number of suppliers in detail, buyers will want to compare more detailed pricing against a specific requirement... so, again, the high-level single number price doesn't help.

    I'd drop it.

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