At the end of 2018, the Federal Public Service Policy and Support (FPS BOSA) launched the framework contract “User Centered Design”, with which it wanted to stimulate customer-friendly public services within the federal government. Internet Architects won the Service Design lot and has since worked intensively with FPS BOSA itself, but also with, among others, FPS Finance, FPS Home Affairs, FPS Justice, FPS Economy and FPS Health.
Within the Directorate-General for Digital Transformation at FPS BOSA itself, we realized a number of initiatives in the period 2019-2021 to bring customer-oriented transformation from theory to practice.
Implementing the Single Digital Gateway Directive
The European Single Digital Gateway (SDG) directive obliges governments in each Member State to make a number of well-defined procedures fully digitally accessible to citizens from other EU Member States by 2023. In a country like Belgium, with its complex state structures, this requires a great deal of coordination and good agreements between all competent government authorities. Internet Architects supports FPS BOSA in its role as technical coordinator to, on the one hand, facilitate this consultation on a national and European level, and on the other hand, to develop the necessary digital building blocks for the national partners to meet their obligations in a timely manner.
Enterprise architecture and digital roadmap: customer centricity as a management model
As a service provider to other government administrations, FPS BOSA DG DT is working hard on “enterprise architecture” as a way to describe public services in a way that ensures interoperability with other EU Member States. Our assignment is to also process and document the aspect of “customer centricity” in this management model. In addition, we also collaborate with the various departments within DG DT to define an overarching portfolio of strategic (digital) projects that are financed from the European recovery fund.
User research: bring the voice of the customer into your organization
A good understanding of the needs of various target groups is essential to set the right priorities and make correct design decisions. That is why we at FPS BOSA invest heavily in the roll-out of structural user research —both quantitative and qualitative— in order to gauge expectations, service experiences and satisfaction at regular intervals. We identified the top tasks of the various government partners of BOSA DG DT, organized interviews with target groups, performed user tests on new releases, and launched a first version of a continuous user feedback system.
Service design through the eyes of the customer
By translating key services provided by FPS BOSA DG DT into customer journeys, and subsequently linking these to the internal workings of the organization (“service blueprints”), we succeeded in getting the internal stakeholders to think about their services from the perspective of the end user. As a result, internal collaboration was stimulated and improvement initiatives were defined based on needs, instead of the what a specific technology could bring to the table. Internal services related to web forms, e-procurement and digital authentication, among other things, were overhauled in this way.
Reusable design system: user-friendly and maintenance-friendly building blocks for your user interface
To help the different development teams within FPS BOSA DG DT to create consistent user interfaces (“UI”) that meet all quality requirements (including accessibility), Internet Architects developed a system with reusable components, ranging from an individual widget for date entry, to more complex page templates with many configuration options. These components were offered not only in the form of a visual style guide, but also in the form of working “code snippets” that developers can import directly into their projects. Not only a boost for internal efficiency, but also for the quality of the end product!
Prototyping and design sprints: building bridges from idea to realization
By dealing creatively with complex challenges, we try to assess the technical feasibility of certain proposals while at the same time creating consensus about the desired user experience. In a design sprint, for example, we fine-tuned the abstract concept of a “Digital Mailroom” that government organizations can use to handle internal case management more efficiently. In addition, our technical know-how also allowed us to experiment with available data and APIs within FPS BOSA to create working prototypes around innovative user experiences for citizens and companies, both for the web and in the form of a mobile app.
Service Design training and workshops: practical tips & tools for customer-oriented working
In 2019, Internet Architects contributed to the foundation of the brand new Digital Open network, which aims to raise awareness about service design and design thinking within the federal government through inspiration sessions, lunch talks and workshops. We regularly animate interactive workshops for this network and, in addition to a series of e-learning videos, we also created a range of reusable tools and templates.