Tracks: Advancing Your Practice

Researching the end: What doing user research in funeralcare has taught me.

Gillian works for Co-op Digital doing research with product and service teams. Most of her work at the Co-op has focussed on informing the business about the user experiences of their colleagues in food stores and funeral homes.

Over the last two years, the Co-op has built a digital service to help colleagues in their funeral homes better communicate with each other and make sure the journey a deceased takes from the moment they are taken into the Co-op’s care to the moment they are put to rest is as transparent as possible. Gillian has been a user researcher on the digital team responsible for maintaining and continuing to build this live product for the last 6 months. She spends a lot of time hanging out in funeral homes across the UK, getting to know the colleagues who work there, learning about how they manage their daily work life, and trying to understand how this new digital tool has shaped their experiences.

In this talk, Gillian will share her experiences doing user research with the funeralcare business. This talk will give you insight into:

- what user research looks like in this type of industry
- what types of struggles user researchers and in-house product teams face working on a live service for colleagues
- how this project has made her a better, and more mindful, researcher

She hopes you can take some of these learnings and translate them into your own work as a researcher or member of a product team.

Gillian MacDonald.

User Researcher, Co-op Digital


Gillian MacDonald is a user researcher at Co-op Digital, where she has worked on in-house product teams building services for business streams including Food and Funeralcare. Her job is to make sure that teams understand the users they are building services and products for, and to help build up research and critical thinking skills along the way.

Originally from Canada, she’s spent the last 5 years working for research agencies and institutes across Europe, in a variety of multi-disciplinary teams covering a wide range of topics. She tends to get itchy feet easily, and has a keen interest for food research and hand crafting.