I’ve been building digital products and services since the dial-up era. I spent many years working in the private sector. Good design is seen as a necessity. Customers will switch to another service which is easier to use, has a better app, or offers a nicer experience.
I now work in the public sector, where things are a little different.
No one wants to come in contact with the justice system — when you do, something has generally gone very wrong. We're working to make the justice system as easy & effective as possible for everyone. Join us!https://t.co/3pYw981TsS
— Jeffrey Allen (@jallen300) May 22, 2019
Most people who are arrested, probably don’t want to be arrested.
Generally speaking, people don’t want to need to go to a hospital.
People may or may not want to pay tax. But they don’t get much choice in the matter. And there’s only one entity you can pay.
Government is, mostly, a monopoly. Traditionally, that means crap services, atrocious design, and an unwilling attitude. That’s changing. I see dedicated public servants around the world realising that they have to change the way the state and the citizen interact. Paying your taxes should be as simple as buying something online. Registering to vote should be no more complicated that registering on a social network.
But those are willing transactions. OK, you may not want to interact with the tax service – but you do so because the alternative is a monetary penalty or a criminal record. It’s not much of a choice – which is precisely why we should make it as easy and pleasant as possible.
(Side note – I don’t use the word “delightful”. That usually means cutesy graphics, chummy language, and a fake bonhomie which irritates most normal people but is beloved by marketing-folk. Transactions with Government are serious business, and probably don’t need to be festooned with emoji.)
The private sector also uses length of engagement time as a key metric. How long does a user spends on your site? The longer the better, right?
Well, not for our sites. A user doesn’t want to send a single nanosecond longer than necessary with us.
Plain, simple, fast. That’s what we’re aiming for.