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Discovery to learn about collecting information from users

The Government Digital Service (GDS) is running a discovery to learn more about collecting information from users.

Why GDS is running a discovery

In May 2017, a team started trying to solve problems with government services processing information that is submitted offline. Namely, paper forms. 📄

In October 2017, they were ready to launch a Private Beta to test if GOV.UK Submit could scale. Then, that work was paused. ⏸

In the three years from then until August 2020, government departments invested in solving these problems themselves, so GDS wanted to facilitate conversations about the emerging duplication of effort, and launched this cross-government form building community. 🚀

GDS is currently looking at the extent to which those problems remain unsolved. A lot has happened in three and a half years. This discovery will help GDS decide whether there is value in further investment. 🤷🏻‍♂️

We won’t be working on this beyond March 2021 unless we find unmet user needs and are successful in getting funding.

Who is on the team

The team only has one full time member:

Harry is supported part-time by:

GDS hopes to make the team more multi-disciplinary soon, to help make more informed decisions. In addition, the team will be doing its best to adopt a more multi-disciplinary view by learning from members of this cross-government form community, as well as different communities of practice.

Updates from the team

The team is publishing short updates here on what they learn. They hope working in the open will help them get feedback from the community.

Sprint 0: setting up for a useful discovery

Sprint 1: problems faced by local government and limitations of teams using form builders

Sprint 2: who are the users?

Sprint 3: which problems should we solve?

Sprint 4: why most government forms are still PDFs

Our team’s strategy