Senior User Researcher


Grade 7




Bristol, Warrington, York


£47,549 - £54,728

Important Dates:

Apply before 11:55 pm on Monday 30th November 2020

Closing date:

30th November 2020


The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) is recruiting 2 Senior User Researchers. One role will be based in York and the other role can be based at any of Defra’s Digital Hubs including Bristol, Warrington and York.

About Defra

Defra is responsible for safeguarding our natural environment, supporting our world-leading food and farming industries and sustaining a rural economy. Our broad remit means we play an important role in people’s day-to-day life, from the food we eat and the air we breathe to the water we drink.

As the environment, food production and farming practices increasingly occupy centre stage in public and policy debates, this is an exciting time to join the department.

Defra offers flexible working arrangements and has a supportive, diverse and user-focused culture. The department’s thriving content design team is part of a wider user-centred design group devoted to building inclusive and intuitive digital services for everyone.

Job description

User Researchers are key figures in the teams that design and deliver services. They help their teams develop a deep understanding of the citizens, businesses or government colleagues that use a service. Their findings allow their teams to design and build better services more quickly and at lower cost and risk. And to continuously improve services, based on data and evidence.

As a Senior User Researcher, you will plan and lead user research activities on larger teams and more complex services. You will build user centred practices in new teams, and align user research activities with wider plans to inform service proposition. As part of your role, you may supervise and develop other user researchers to assure and improve their research practice.


• Planning, designing and preparing a range of user research activities to support the design, development and continuous improvement of complex government services.

• Carrying out a wide range of user research activities from recruiting participants, preparing discussion guides and moderating research sessions.

• Leading colleagues to analyse research data and synthesise clear and actionable findings, including working closely with analytics colleagues to create a rich picture of user behaviour.

• Communicating user research findings to help the team and wider organisation develop a deep understanding of users and their needs.

• Working closely with product managers, designers and developers to turn user research findings into stories and actions that lead to valuable product and service features.

• Aligning user research activities with wider plans to inform service proposition.

• Building user centred practices in new and larger teams

• Mentoring and guiding more junior user researchers to assure and improve research practice.

• Contributing to the wider user research community – including presenting at meetups, writing blog posts and leading on aspects of practice.


• Experience of advocating for user research and engaging sceptical colleagues and stakeholders.

• Experience of helping teams to adopt user centred service design and delivery practices and embed them into their agile workflow.

• The ability to understand the complex problems a team is trying to solve, and align user research activities to inform decision making and action.

• Experience of helping teams adopt a wide range of user research methods, analysis and synthesis techniques and approaches to presenting and sharing findings.

• Proven experience of introducing new user research methods into a team, and guiding colleagues in the choice and effective application of research methods.

• The ability to include all kinds of users in appropriate research activities to help teams understand the diversity of users of government services.

• A good understanding of the social and technological context for government services, and experience of aligning user research activities to help teams understand changing user behaviour.

• Knowledge of the technologies used to build and operate digital services, and the ability to work closely with colleagues in technical roles and to constructively challenges technical constraints.

• Experience of user research for a large, complex organisation.