5 Things Citizens Want from Government Digital Services

Good experience is the sum of a holistic set of five dimensions – citizen journey, mobile functionality, service design, relevance and a two-way relationship  – each of which contribute to how an online experience makes a citizen feel and, in turn, impacts their relationship with and their perception of the organization delivering the service. Taken together, high performance across these dimensions captures the seamless, tailored and fulfilling experience that represents today’s digital best practices that people expect.  

  1. Citizen Journey

A smooth Citizen Journey is essential right from the point at which the citizen is ready to engage with the government until their needs have been fulfilled. The experience needs to be transactional, reliable and have a good workflow that allows citizens to carry out multiple tasks for different departments with a single sign on, along with access to historical data, like last year’s tax return, to make the process faster and easier.

  1. Mobile First

Today, citizens also expect a ‘mobile first’ design, so they can access state digital services on the go, using their most convenient device. Any digital service which isn’t designed to be mobile first – from the government or otherwise – is a huge turnoff.

  1. User-centric service design

While a seamless Citizen Journey and Mobile accessibility are increasingly seen as hygiene factors for citizens, one of the aspects of online experience most likely to achieve real impact in terms of positive experience is design. In looking at the interface, UX designers need to make the combined elements of graphics, visuals and content all work together to aid the user’s journey rather than slow it down. More than one failure in this department and the user is likely to turn off altogether.

  1. Relevance

Digital services from the public and private sector can be hugely successful if they provide the right information to the right person at the right time. This can take the form of timely reminders and links to a well-designed, mobile optimised renewal page for things like official government documents, or notifications about changes to public services before they happen. If local government organisations can get this right, it can help build a reputation for being useful and considerate, encouraging more citizens to sign up for alerts or use government-run portals to find the information they need.

  1. Relationship

Relationship is the fifth dimension of a good experience and recognises the value citizens place in having a mechanism for dialog with their government, whether at a federal or local level.  Services should be assessed for how the experience of using it affects the relationship between the citizen and the government, and the way in which a new technology can help citizens move from passive consumers to co-creators of ever more relevant services.

Services should be conceived as a two-way relationship, where citizen interactions are factored into the future design and delivery of services. Relationship and Relevance are areas that governments are generally reported as performing less well. A focus on these dimensions creates the opportunity to drive meaningful changes to citizen experience and secure the potential financial and social benefits that a positive experience can bring.

By Gavin Mee, VP Northern Europe & MEA at Adobe (LinkedIn, Twitter)

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