Users Vs Stakeholders

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How we distinguish between ‘users’ and ‘stakeholders’ when designing state-run services

What are users?

In most cases, users are the people directly interacting with your service or product. They will also usually be the beneficiary of said service or product. They could be citizens or non-citizens, businesses or individuals. Users may also be referred to as ‘end users’, ‘primary users’ or simply ‘the public’. 

‘Users’ are distinct from ‘customers’ insofar as they have no choice but to interact with the government/state to achieve their goal. Users are the people who need to use the services –  they are the people the service is built for. Therefore our obligation to provide a good experience is even more important.

No group is more important than users when it comes to informing the design, build, and operation of the service.

What are stakeholders?

Stakeholders are the people or organisations that are responsible for ensuring the operational availability of your service or product. 

They may either have an interest in, or are affected by, the existence of your service or product. They could be responsible for the governing policy, operational delivery, or be a budget holder. In these guises they are not users (even though separately, they may also use or benefit from the service). 

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