Session type:

Session duration:
90 minutes

Presented by:

Louise Petre


Natalie Baron


Lorna Tang


About this Hands-On

With more data and hype about data than ever before, it can feel like we need to be experts before we even get started. In this 90-minute interactive session, we’ll begin by asking participants to identify themselves on our data inclusion scale before a quick demystification session.

We’ll definitively answer whether data can give us the answers to everything we need to know, ever. We’ll look at what happens when data is just as fuzzy and human as - well - humans.

We’ll divide the room into groups before setting a data challenge comprising a single real-world problem for each group to solve. Each team will have a choice of data sources to consult (provided in mystery envelopes - think Masterchef’s mystery larder challenge).

We’ll guide each team to create hypotheses around how to solve their problem, and then give them some time to use their chosen data to help understand the problem before they present back to the group.

We’ll end by getting all the data together (qual and quant) and explore how the big picture is different to the things we saw in our groups. Participants will leave knowing how to approach data so they can answer and measure hypotheses about improving what they’re making.

Lorna, Louise and Natalie have spent a lot of time understanding how people use data as user researchers and digital analysts at the Government Digital Service (GDS). They want to help more people to feel confident using data to make the world a better place.

About the Speakers

Louise Petre

Louise is a user researcher at GDS. She has been doing research with the people who use for the last 18 months. During this time she has learnt a lot of very interesting things about how people find and use data and the problems they meet on the way. She has seen how amazing things happen when people have the skills, support and appropriate tools to use the data they have.

Louise has been working with Lorna and Natalie on how to make data more approachable and less scary.


Natalie Baron

Natalie has been a user researcher at GDS since 2016. She has worked on GOV.UK and is currently with the data science team. For the last 6 months, she has been looking at how to build data literacy and capability across the UK government, and has learned lots about the gap between perceptions and reality when it comes to using data. Before she joined GDS, she worked at a start-up called 6tribes (now Drivetribes). Before that, she worked as a community researcher with Camden Council.


Lorna Tang

Lorna works at GDS as an analyst on GOV.UK. Over the last year she has been working on the content team to help designers measure impact.

She has been using hypotheses to help designers ask the right questions and identify measurements based on changes in user behaviour. Lorna advocates using multiple data sources to get a wider understanding of user behaviour.

Last year, she spent 7 months on secondment to Citizens Advice to develop a dashboard to open up their enquiry data to government. The dashboard combines quantitative data with powerful case studies that bring to life the breadth and intensity of users’ full journeys, beyond government websites and call centres.

Lorna has always worked with user data, previously working on the Assisted Digital team and as a benefits advisor in local Jobcentres.


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