What do you mean when you say to focus on “user needs”?

As e-government initiatives continue to evolve, the phrase “focus on user needs” is becoming increasingly important. However, it’s not always clear what this means in the context of e-government. In this blog post, we’ll explore what it means to focus on user needs in e-government, and provide practical methods for putting this principle into action.

Running group workshop sessions is a productivity hack if you have very good facilitator’s because you can get a lot done by combining skillsets + solving problems in parallel with different groups working on different parts of the problem. We are able to power through mountains of work by working like this. These sessions are best run in the morning or in the afternoon on a Friday.

At its core, focusing on user needs in e-government means designing services that meet the needs of citizens, businesses, public servants and other stakeholders. This requires e-government implementation teams to have a deep understanding of:

  • who these stakeholders are,
  • what they’re trying to accomplish
  • what the issues and barriers are when they interact with existing government services. Doing this puts the needs of the users at the center of the design process, as opposed to designing services based solely on internal government processes.
Here’s an infographic that maps out the complete process from start to finish.

To actually put these principles into action, you need a methodology that not only works but is repeatable. At GovCrate we’ve spent over a decade developing a set of workshop sessions that when combined for a methodology that can be used repeatedly by e-government implementation teams in the Pacific. They are focused on group exercises that use visual thinking approaches learned in my previous profession as a teacher. Below is the high level overview of the sessions we run that help focus teams on users needs:

  1. Map the process: Start by mapping out the process for the service you’re designing. This will help you understand the steps involved, and identify who the stakeholders are.
  2. Identify the stakeholder tasks: Next, identify all of the stakeholders involved in the process and the tasks they are doing. This may include citizens, government employees, other government agencies, and third-party service providers.
  3. Identify each stakeholders’ pain points: Once you’ve identified the stakeholders, you can begin to identify their pain points. This may involve conducting user research, gathering feedback through surveys, or analyzing data from previous service interactions.
  4. Prioritise stakeholders’ pain points: Finally, prioritize the stakeholders’ pain points based on their impact on the user experience and the feasibility of addressing them. This will help you focus your efforts on the issues that will have the greatest impact.
Here’s an example of an empathy map for a specific stakeholder. This was generated from the workshop session with the design team + the stakeholder representatives. It gives the design team a holistic understanding of the specific issues that need to be solved.

By following these methods, e-government implementation teams can design services that are more user-centered and better meet the needs of stakeholders. This can lead to greater citizen satisfaction, increased adoption rates, and a more successful e-government program overall.

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