We are all stakeholders: A keynote address at UCD 2013


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Do you know anyone whose life is untouched by government electronic and information systems?

In fact, the usability of government systems affects us all — all seven-plus billion of the Earth’s people. Even if we ourselves never visit a government website to claim a National Insurance refund or apply for a provisional driving licence, as tax payers we bear the costs of usability problems in the systems that our governments use to conduct their business. As citizens we suffer the consequences of inadequate effectiveness, efficiency and even satisfaction of government workers due to usability and user experience problems in the systems they use.
In the usability of government systems, we are all stakeholders.

This presentation covers the intersection of government systems work and UX work. It describes the differences between public-facing government systems and internal ones and explains vital usability and UX needs that each of these must meet. From the other side, it will describe important ways in which government projects differ from private-sector projects and the challenges and rewards that those differences pose for UX work. The talk includes examples from both public-facing and internal systems.

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  • In the usability of government systems, we are all stakeholders. Photo © Elizabeth Buie. Available via Creative Commons BY-NC-ND. http://www.flickr.com/photos/39041248@N03/3767323445/
  • Sit back and think for a moment about your last experience with a government system.
  • Probably the first thing that most of us think of are public websites. Most of us are familiar with the new gov.uk design. Have you used it yourself?
  • What about subordinate sites? Have you used the web to get a road tax disc for your car?
  • To access secure services such as HMRC via the Government Gateway?
  • To book an NHS appointment?
  • To visit the United States?
  • I worked on government systems for 35 years, and this is the sexiest project I had in all that time.(Photo credit: NASA - http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap080219.html )
  • Much of talk is based on bookAlso, although we know that usability and user experience are not the same thing, in this talk I use usability as the general term because it’s easier to sell to government.You may hear some things that sound a little odd to your ears. That’s because most of my experience is from the US, with a little in Italy.But we all know that different countries do things differently, and I’d like to hear how your experiences differ from mine.Book cover copyright © Morgan Kaufmann Press. Used by permission.
  • Let’s look at the stakeholders in this issue. Who are they?
  • Can you think of anyone who’s NOT a stakeholder of government systems?Most of us think first of members of the public who use government websites and other electronic systems.The live presentation shows these photos in sequence. To see them individually, follow the links in the photo credits.Photo credits:http://digital.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/2012/11/02/designing-for-different-devices/ - VAT for consumers (Crown Copyright)http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Education/Life-Long-Learning/17551 Scottish literacy (Crown Copyright)https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/driving-standards-agency (Crown Copyright)https://www.barnsley.gov.uk/services/leisure-and-culture/libraries/teenagers-and-young-adults-services (Crown Copyright)https://www.gov.uk/government/news/learner-drivers-warned-about-extra-charges - booking a driving test (2 photos) (Crown Copyright)tbd https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/office-of-the-parliamentary-counsel (Crown Copyright)http://www.scotlandspeoplehub.gov.uk/scotlands-people-centre/open-day.html (Crown Copyright)http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/Images/computer_boys_tcm4-582142.jpg (Crown Copyright) http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2011/03/11110615/7 - Scottish career info (Crown Copyright)https://www.gov.uk/government/world-location-news/changes-to-the-uk-immigration-rules-to-benefit-global-businesses-and-international-students (Crown Copyright)
  • A large number of stakeholders work inside the government. Some of them use the systems directly; others use their output.The live presentation shows these photos in sequence. To see them individually, follow the links in the photo credits.Photo Creditshttp://www.forestry.gov.uk/fr/INFD-7YKJP5 (Crown Copyright)http://www.mhra.gov.uk/Safetyinformation/Howwemonitorthesafetyofproducts/Medicines/TheYellowCardScheme/Informationforhealthcareprofessionals/Howtoreport/index.htm (Crown Copyright)https://www.mi5.gov.uk/careers/upcoming-jobs.aspx - MI5 jobs (Crown Copyright)https://www.gov.uk/defence-infrastructure-organisation-service-family-accommodation - MOD member of staff for housing (Crown Copyright)https://www.gov.uk/government/news/raf-reservist-helps-keep-news-coming-from-operations-over-libya - man sitting on floor (Crown Copyright)https://www.gov.uk/government/news/damian-green-digital-courtrooms-to-be-rolled-out-nationally digital courtroom (Crown Copyright)http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/media/image/c/7/computer_engineer-600x400.jpg (Crown Copyright)https://www.gov.uk/government/news/army-conducts-largest-ever-virtual-battlefield-simulation-experiment (Crown Copyright)http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/training/industry/aviation/general/decision-making (Crown Copyright)http://digital.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/2011/11/10/pm-tech-city-app/ - Tech City mobile app (Crown Copyright)http://www.princeofwales.gov.uk/news-and-diary/working-day-the-life-of-flight-lieutenant-wales (Crown Copyright)
  • And then, of course, there are people who benefit from services that government systems support.The live presentation shows these photos in sequence. To see them individually, follow the links in the photo credits.Photo credits:https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-publishes-care-bill home care worker & patient (Crown Copyright)https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-technology-to-improve-children-s-mental-health-services--2 - Children's mental health service on tablet (Crown Copyright)http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/453998 - policewomen, Creative Commons, photo by Paul Andersonhttp://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/3313157 - Active Traffic Management on M6, Creative Commons, photo by David Dixonhttp://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2404328 - Bakerloo line, Creative Commons, photo by Roger Cornfoothttp://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/3177475 - Plane near air traffic control tower, Creative Commons, photo by Richard Humphreyhttp://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://www.direct.gov.uk/prod_consum_dg/groups/dg_digitalassets/@dg/@en/documents/digitalasset/dg_186825.jpg (Crown Copyright)https://www.gov.uk/government/world/uruguay (Crown Copyright)https://www.gov.uk/government/news/nick-boles-attends-launch-of-national-business-competition (Crown Copyright)https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-deal-will-help-older-people-live-at-home-for-longer (Crown Copyright)http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2640904 - Busker on Westminster Bridge, Creative Commons,photo by Mick Lobbhttps://www.gov.uk/government/news/fishing-scheme-is-stress-buster-for-troops-back-from-operations (Crown Copyright) http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/services/public/about (Crown Copyright)
  • When we think of where the stakeholders are, what first comes to mind?
  • When we think of government, we probably tend to think first of the capital city.http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/images/eol/2003/london.html London at night from space (NASA photo)
  • But shouldn’t we include the people in the rest of the country?Photo adapted from http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=78674 (NASA photo)
  • And how about the EU? There’s a lot of going back and forth between the member nations.Photo adapted from http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/lookingatearth/NIGHTLIGHTS.html (NASA photo)
  • But wait. Governments have many programs overseas as well, most of which are supported by ICT.The live presentation shows these photos in sequence. To see them individually, follow the links in the photo credits.Photo creditshttps://www.gov.uk/government/world-location-news/first-mobile-visa-service-held-in-vientiane-today (Crown Copyright)https://www.gov.uk/government/news/the-life-of-an-army-doctor-on-the-front-line – health workshop in Afghanistan (Crown Copyright) https://www.gov.uk/government/news/the-life-of-an-army-doctor-on-the-front-line clinic, checking baby in Helmand (Crown Copyright)https://www.gov.uk/government/news/raf-reservist-helps-keep-news-coming-from-operations-over-libya RAF news person with natives (Crown Copyright)http://blogs.dfid.gov.uk/2013/06/i-see-change-coming-in-pakistan/ (Crown Copyright)http://blogs.dfid.gov.uk/2013/04/whats-the-problem-with-sharing-knowledge/kenya-health-workers-2008-dfid/ DFID bloggers (Crown Copyright)https://www.gov.uk/government/news/one-million-jobs-supported-by-britains-development-finance-firm Worker in hard hat (Crown Copyright)
  • When we think about it, everyone in the world is a stakeholder in the usability of government systems.And of course the tax payers have a stake in the efficiency of the work that government employees do. Image adapted from http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/image/earth_night.jpg (NASA photo)
  • The public are external users. Ctizens, non-citizen residents, immigrants, visitors.Public servants are internal users, often considered part of the system. government employees or contractors (or in some cases volunteers), civilian or military.The public are often seen as customers of government systems. Public servants use these systems as career folks, and are often expected to put up with whatever.The public often have a choice — for now, at least — of whether to do their business on line or by other means. Public servants are a captive audience.The tasks of the public tend to be relatively simple and straightforward. Public servants’ tasks are, on the whole, much more complex, especially when we get into air traffic control and military operations. Photo credit: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/modelling-systems (Crown Copyright)
  • Let’s look at the major goals of government systems. Let’s start with public-facing ones. Photo credits:http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/services/smarter-weather (Crown Copyright)https://www.gov.uk/government/news/learner-drivers-warned-about-extra-charges - booking a driving test (2 photos) (Crown Copyright)https://www.gov.uk/government/news/mobile-apps (Crown Copyright)
  • Some transactions are optional and some are required. Required transactions don’t necessarily have to be done on line — YET — but they do have to be done.Image credits:http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/14825.aspx (Crown Copyright)https://www.gov.uk/government/news/hmrc-offers-new-set-of-online-tax-guidance (Crown Copyright)
  • Image credits:http://digital.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/2012/11/06/the-digital-efficiency-report/ (Crown Copyright)https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dvlas-annual-report-and-accounts-2012-to-2013/dvlas-annual-report-and-accounts-2012-to-2013
  • Image credit: http://digital.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/2012/11/06/the-government-digital-strategy-and-how-it-was-written/ (Crown Copyright)
  • Here are some important goals of internal systems. Image credits:http://www.scotland.gov.uk/About/Performance/scotPerforms/indicators/pubSectorEfficiency (Crown Copyright)http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2011/11/10140644/6 (Crown Copyright)
  • Privacy doesn’t apply to employees. The government can (and often does) monitor everything that a user of an internal system does while using that system. Maintain security and safety at local, regional and national levels.Photo creditshttps://www.gov.uk/security-services-group (Crown Copyright)https://www.gov.uk/government/news/changes-made-to-police-custody-rules (Crown Copyright)http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/publicsector/hazardmanager (Crown Copyright)https://www.gov.uk/government/news/royal-air-force-celebrates-top-apprentices (Crown Copyright)
  • DefencePhoto credit: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/mod-honours-conservation-and-energy-award-winners--2 (Crown Copyright)
  • Defence (this is a flight simulator)Photo credit: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/minister-visits-futuristic-jet-pilot-training-facility (Crown Copyright)
  • SpacePhoto credit: http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/k-4/stories/what-is-the-iss-k4.html (NASA photo)
  • Air Traffic Controlhttps://www.gov.uk/government/news/raf-and-civilian-air-traffic-controllers-working-together (Crown Copyright)
  • Weather forecastingPhoto creditshttp://www.metoffice.gov.uk/learning/science/days-ahead/how/ensemble (Crown Copyright)https://elearning.metoffice.gov.uk/course/category.php?id=3 (Crown Copyright)
  • Emergency response often requires the cooperation of different governmental organizations, which often have incompatible computerized systems.Photo credit: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/military-help-emergency-services-deal-with-the-snow (Crown Copyright)
  • Legislative drafting systems tend to be firmly entrenched, and even ideas that would improve their usability meet with strong resistance from the users.Image from Chapter 9 of “Usability in Government Systems”, copyright 2012 Morgan Kaufmann Press. Used by permission.
  • Internal social media applicationsImage: Screenshot from US Dept. of Transportation’s IdeaHub
  • Image by Rahel Bailie, from Chapter 10 in book, © 2012 Morgan Kaufmann Press. Used by permission.
  • From chapter by Ginny Redish and Susan Kleimann in the book. Emphasis added.
  • Plain language improves communication for users with low literacy, and it improves it for everyone else too.Data source: http://eprints.rclis.org/7038/1/Summers_Reading.pdf (p. 10)Citation: Summers, K., & Summers, M. (2005). Reading and navigational strategies of Web users with lower literacy skills. Proceedings of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 42(1).Note that the figures given in the Summers & Summers report include an incorrect calculation of improvement in time on task. Reduction is always calculated based on the original number, and a reduction in a time value can never be greater than 100%, or the users would have finished the tasks before they started. The figures in this presentation use the correct formula. Profuse apologies for the accessibility problems caused by my using images rather than PowerPoint tables to produce these figures.
  • The live presentation shows these photos in sequence. To see them individually, follow the links in the photo credits.Photo credits:http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Education/Life-Long-Learning/17551 Scottish literacy (Crown Copyright)https://www.gov.uk/government/world/uruguay (Crown Copyright)https://www.gov.uk/government/news/nick-boles-attends-launch-of-national-business-competition (Crown Copyright)http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2640904 - Busker on Westminster Bridge, photo by Mick Lobb (Creative Commons)http://www.scotlandspeoplehub.gov.uk/scotlands-people-centre/open-day.html (Crown Copyright)http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/Images/computer_boys_tcm4-582142.jpg (Crown Copyright) http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/Images/computer_boys_tcm4-582142.jpg (Crown Copyright)https://www.gov.uk/government/world-location-news/changes-to-the-uk-immigration-rules-to-benefit-global-businesses-and-international-students (Crown Copyright)
  • You probably know about screen readers already. Accessibility uses other technologies as well. This picture shows a Braille display.Photo credit: Freedom Scientific: http://www.freedomscientific.com/about/media-center/media-product-images.asp – Used by permission.
  • Photo credits:https://www.gov.uk/government/news/learner-drivers-warned-about-extra-charges - booking a driving test (2 photos) (Crown Copyright)http://www.forestry.gov.uk/mobileapp (Crown Copyright)http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/services/media/mobilevideo (Crown Copyright)https://www.gov.uk/government/news/mental-health-app-now-available-on-android Mobile mental health app (Crown Copyright)http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2011/01/19120621 (Crown Copyright) http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/datapoint/showcase/scope-nights (Crown Copyright)
  • Data security is generally thought of as a tradeoff between user convenience and security — the more convenient the mechanism, the less secure it is. Some think that less convenience also makes for a worse user experience — but what if you feel better because you have more trust in the data security. It’s not a simple formula.Image by Karen Renaud, from the chapter “User Issues in Security” in the book. © Morgan Kaufmann Press. Used by permission.
  • Higher risk transactions require greater and more burdensome security mechanisms. And now we also have two-factor authentication such as that provided by Google Authenticator — a combination of something you know (e.g., a password) and something you have (generally, a pre-authorised mobile phone). Image credits:Image by Karen Renaud, from the chapter “User Issues in Security” in the book. © Morgan Kaufmann Press. Used by permission.Google Authenticator icon: google.comhttp://hatter-source-code.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/attachments/wiki/otp/google_2step_iphone.png (iPhone)
  • Remember those seven billion stakeholders?Doing government UX work can provide the opportunity to help improve the lives of a very large number of those people.Image credit: NASA
  • Thanks to all of the attendees. Thanks also to conference sponsors Accenture and Futureheads, and to the publisher of the book, Morgan Kaufmann Press.
  • We are all stakeholders: A keynote address at UCD 2013

    1. 1. We Are All Stakeholders Usability & User Experience in Government Systems UCD13 – Keynote 3 Elizabeth Buie Northumbria University Newcastle upon Tyne @ebuie #ucd2013 #uxgov
    2. 2. When you think of government systems – What comes to mind? @ebuie #ucd2013
    3. 3. @ebuie #ucd2013
    4. 4. @ebuie #ucd2013
    5. 5. @ebuie #ucd2013
    6. 6. @ebuie #ucd2013
    7. 7. @ebuie #ucd2013
    8. 8. Government systems – More than just public websites @ebuie #ucd2013
    9. 9. @ebuie #ucd2013
    10. 10. Before we go any farther… …a brief note @ebuie #ucd2013
    11. 11. @ebuie #ucd2013
    12. 12. Government system usability – Who are the stakeholders? @ebuie #ucd2013
    13. 13. Stakeholders: Who is affected? Residents & visitors who use the systems @ebuie #ucd2013
    14. 14. Stakeholders: Who else? Government workers @ebuie #ucd2013
    15. 15. Stakeholders: Anyone else? Users of services supported by systems @ebuie #ucd2013
    16. 16. All these stakeholders – Where are they? @ebuie #ucd2013
    17. 17. Greater London? @ebuie Eight million people #ucd2013
    18. 18. All of the UK? @ebuie sixty-three million people #ucd2013
    19. 19. The European Union? @ebuie five hundred million people #ucd2013
    20. 20. What about these people? People in other places affected by our systems @ebuie #ucd2013
    21. 21. In short, the whole world @ebuie seven-plus billion people! #ucd2013
    22. 22. Let’s look at the direct users. Who are they? What is their use like? What kinds of usability and UX do they need? @ebuie #ucd2013
    23. 23. Two kinds of users, two sources of needs  Public  Public servants Customer Career Choice Captive Clear-cut Complex @ebuie #ucd2013
    24. 24. Goals of public-facing systems (1)  Provide information and services, effectively and efficiently @ebuie #ucd2013
    25. 25. Goals of public-facing systems (2)  Conduct transactions with the public Optional – e.g., Top up Oystercard @ebuie Required – e.g., Pay Taxes #ucd2013
    26. 26. Goals of public-facing systems (3)  Increase citizen use of online systems  Entice them away from more expensive channels (phone, face to face, paper) @ebuie #ucd2013
    27. 27. Goals of public-facing systems (4)  Encourage citizen participation in governance Government 2.0 “[Make] government more transparent, by publishing data and insights into government operations, and participatory, by inviting citizens to offer solutions to major challenges.” – Kate Walser, chapter 3, “Usability and Government 2.0” @ebuie #ucd2013
    28. 28. The bottom line for the public @ebuie #ucd2013
    29. 29. Goals of internal systems (1)  Conduct government work effectively and efficiently @ebuie #ucd2013
    30. 30. Goals of internal systems (2)  Integrate activities at all levels of gov’t @ebuie #ucd2013
    31. 31. Goals of internal systems (2)  Integrate activities at all levels of gov’t  Co-operate with other governments @ebuie #ucd2013
    32. 32. Goals of internal systems (3)  Protect citizen privacy  Maintain public security and safety @ebuie #ucd2013
    33. 33. Internal systems Some examples
    34. 34. @ebuie #ucd2013
    35. 35. @ebuie #ucd2013
    36. 36. @ebuie #ucd2013
    37. 37. @ebuie #ucd2013
    38. 38. @ebuie #ucd2013
    39. 39. Usability issues Public and internal systems share many issues
    40. 40. Public/internal shared issues 1. Content strategy @ebuie #ucd2013
    41. 41. Public/internal shared issues 2. Plain language – Clear communication your writing — and “ improve— so your users can your agency’s writing    find what they need, understand what they find, and use what they find to meet their needs. ” – plainlanguage.gov This includes legalese @ebuie #ucd2013
    42. 42. Public/internal shared issues 2. Plain language – Helps everyone From a study of before-and-after task performance of low-literate and highliterate web users, by K. Summers and M. Summers (see slide notes for citation) @ebuie #ucd2013
    43. 43. Public/internal shared issues 3. Different cultures @ebuie #ucd2013
    44. 44. Public/internal shared issues 4. Accessibility – Access for Disabilities Equality Act (UK) www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/contents PACmate Braille display @ebuie #ucd2013
    45. 45. Public/internal shared issues 5. Mobile access @ebuie #ucd2013
    46. 46. Public/internal shared issues 6. Data security: Tradeoff between usability and security But is it really a tradeoff of user experience? What if you feel better because you trust that your data are secure? @ebuie #ucd2013
    47. 47. Public/internal shared issues 6. Data security: Risk vs. Convenience Two-factor authentication @ebuie #ucd2013
    48. 48. Government projects What’s it like to work on them? (apart from what it’s like to do UX work on any project) @ebuie #ucd2013
    49. 49. Govt. projects pose UX challenges @ebuie #ucd2013
    50. 50. @ebuie #ucd2013
    51. 51. “You want to WHAT?!?” WHAT?!?” @ebuie #ucd2013
    52. 52. @ebuie #ucd2013
    53. 53. @ebuie #ucd2013
    54. 54. @ebuie #ucd2013
    55. 55. And then there’s national politics… The biggest and most unpredictable challenge in government work @ebuie #ucd2013
    56. 56. And then there’s national politics… The biggest and most unpredictable challenge in government work @ebuie #ucd2013
    57. 57. Govt. projects offer rewards, too  Number and diversity of stakeholders and users @ebuie #ucd2013
    58. 58. Government project rewards Variety of systems and technologies  Project size & scope  @ebuie #ucd2013
    59. 59. In the usability of government systems @ebuie @ebuie We are all stakeholders #ucd2013 #ucd2013
    60. 60. Govt. projects offer rewards, too  Potential to help make government itself more effective and efficient @ebuie #ucd2013
    61. 61. Why do government work “ I’ve found public-sector work to be infinitely more meaningful than private-sector work. … Individually, we tend not to act in a way that’s attuned to our collective needs. … Government provides a solution to the tragedy of the commons. ” – Jess McMullin, Citizen Experience Design author of Chapter 22, Design for Policymaking @ebuie #ucd2013
    62. 62. Thank you! Elizabeth Buie Northumbria University Newcastle upon Tyne, UK Thanks to the two conference sponsors: