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User research: E-Government for real people
In a research project with a Swiss administrative office we investigated what people really need when using an online administration desk.
The essentials in a nutshell
- In a UX research project we investigated how people interact with government information portals.
- User research ultimately leads to a clearer product strategy and saves time and money.
- In focus groups we learned how important personalisation and accessibility of e-government services are.
What do I need to do when moving from one canton to another? How much customs duty will I have to pay for that dining table that I bought abroad? Government information portals should provide quick and simple answers to such questions. But what exactly are people looking for when they use such a portal? In a UX research project, we dug into this question.
At Nothing, we always put ourselves in the shoes of those who actually use a product. To do that, simple speculation isn’t enough. It takes research with real users to properly understand people’s wants, needs and struggles. User research is the only route towards creating an intuitive and straightforward product experience.
Research creates context and saves time and money
There are myriad ways of doing user experience (UX) research. We can observe people’s behaviour while they use a product, conduct targeted interviews, or analyse the way that users process complex information. But the overarching goal is always the same: to thoroughly understand how actual users interact with a product.
Through UX research we discover how a product can be improved or how an idea could be realised. Moreover, it allows us to step back and see the big picture—and avoid focussing efforts on meaningless details. Our experience shows that every minute invested in research shapes the product strategy and ultimately saves time and money.
Case study: Dealing with public authorities in a fresh way
Many governmental departments offer an online information portal nowadays. But how might users potentially interact with such a platform? We explored the general desires and fundamental struggles of people when they deal with authorities. This helped us identify what a virtual authority would need to offer and how an administrative webportal can be helpful to the users.
At the outset of our research is always the careful individual recruitment of real users. In the case of governmental services, we collected a wide range of different people—after all, everyone comes into contact with public services at some point in their life.
Once selected, we brought these participants together in focus groups to gather diverse opinions about authorities and public services. Compared to one-on-one interviews, focus groups have the advantage of stimulating spontaneous reactions and ideas. Their natural conversation dynamic generates insightful remarks and discoveries.
What did we learn? First and foremost: the personalisation of e-government services is incredibly important. The more complex a process is to deal with, the more important it is to take users by the hand and simplify their interaction with the product. This also requires special attention to accessibility—after all, an accessible product delivers a better user experience for everyone.
Put research on your radar
Do you want to know how UX research can sustainably improve your product strategy? Get in touch with us to discuss how your product can be envisioned in an even better way: Drop a line to either Pace (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Glow (email@example.com). Whether it’s an ongoing project or an idea in incubation: With Nothing’s UX research, we’ll help you see the bigger context of your project more clearly and put your users into focus.