Implementing the Digital Service Standard & UCD

Has anyone else had significant push-back/resistance to implementing human centred design approaches and if you managed to overcome it, how? I seem to have triggered a Tsunami just by introducing the concepts…

Hi AniaK,

Yes, in the past. A lot of us have fought these battles long and hard although honestly I haven’t heard of anything as serious in terms of pushback you seem to be describing. Generally this approach has become very mainstream over the last 5-6 years so this is quite rare.

Nonetheless, a lot of us veterans know how to fight these arguments well. There are also a tonne of resources online on how to sell HCD in an organisation.

I assume you’re in Government? Thankfully you can leverage a lot of existing work by other agencies in this space (including the DTA). Sounds like you’ve really unsettled some people though. What is the nature of the pushback exactly? Like I said, a lot of us know these arguments well and how to move past them, so if you can share a bit more specifically as to what exactly you’re pushing back against hopefully we can give you some advice!


In most government departments (especially federal) this is almost mandated as @Shane has mentioned because of the DSS (but I am not sure how well it is being enforced). Even if you are working at state or council level of public service, there is almost certainly relevant guidelines for the design of digital services by the agency responsible for setting them (at the state level).

My assumption is that if they have already spent money on consultants then they will need to justify the cost or value of bringing their expertise (or building such capability internally), and if they haven’t then it is probably not so much a pushback as the general tension when change is introduced (or perceived) in government.

However, that seems to be mostly in the past and now we are mostly facing the problem of either over-doing the UCD stuff (like Agile methodologies) or not doing them suitably for the project.