DHS trial targets design weaknesses in digital services

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DHS trial targets design weaknesses in digital services

Focuses on production use.

The Department of Human Services plans to incorporate ‘voice of customer analytics’ into its digital services to pinpoint design weaknesses that have made it into production.

Head of enterprise architecture Garrett McDonald told IBM’s Think 2018 conference that the department was trialling IBM’s Tealeaf software “over the coming months”.

Tealeaf is used to track customer behaviours in web and mobile channels, and particularly identify areas of friction in the way they are laid out. IBM bought Tealeaf in 2012.

McDonald said DHS had extensive checks and balances around user-centred design and citizen engagement while a service was being put together, but these did not always prevent all issues.

An example of this is DHS' myGov online services portal; the agency has been working hard in recent years to improve the user experience as a result of of consistent complaints about usability.

“We’ve found over the years that when you push these services into production, you will still find there are examples where the design process hasn’t quite caught how will the citizens engage with the service,” MdDonald said.

“That’s where we want to deploy voice of customer analytics - to make sure that we’re picking up those insights and driving them back into the design process early.”

McDonald said he hoped voice of customer analytics would help iron out any design issues that weren't picked up before a service was put into production.

“We can deploy a service tonight and by 9am tomorrow we’ll start to get a sense of how users are engaging with that service, [if they're] struggling, and we can then start to tighten the feedback loop on driving back into that user-centred design process,” he said.

McDonald outlined the series of steps in digital design that occur pre-production.

They include ensuring the design of the service meets the principles of the DTA’s digital service standard; McDonald said DHS has “design practices in Brisbane and Canberra … where we work with the DTA on the implementation” of the standard.

“A big focus of that is how do you place the user at the centre of the design process, and then making sure you genuinely understand the user’s needs [by] undertaking user testing at multiple points in the design process,” McDonald said.

Services were also tested by “user experience labs” where citizens could be taken through the interface and process.

“In all of our initiatives we place a strong focus on picking up a representative cross-sample of our citizens who will need to use this service,” he said.

“We also spend quite a bit of time going out and engaging citizens through our branch networks.

“We’re constantly seeking feedback on what our users will make of the experience.”

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