Digitalisation is transforming governmental services, therefore municipalities aim to provide almost all of their services entirely online. Every municipal service starts with requiring the citizen to make an appointment on the municipality website. Digitally illiterate or elderly residents usually call the municipality to arrange an appointment or ask someone to help out with the task. The challenge was given to design an inclusive (product) service system that municipalities can use to support target groups with limited digital literacy in doing business as independently as possible and provide an optimal way of interaction.
Research has been done to understand the usability problems when using the municipality website as well as when interacting with the kiosk upon arrival. With the Sign Up kit concept, the process of making a municipality appointment is reimagined for users with less digital skills. In this product-service system (PSS) combination, a personal token in the kit is authenticated with the user's credentials. The visual instructions prompt the user to plug in the USB component into their computer. The first appointment data is encrypted in the RFID chip, allowing the system to detect the visitor when walking into the municipality for their appointment - no effort, no interaction, no help needed.
To design for the context, I visited Dutch municipalities and also talked to the target group to understand their pains and goals. In order to improve municipal digital processes, the usability problems were investigated that elderly people face when making an appointment online. From the findings, a design vision was formulated.
The articulated vision guided developing the concept. A user session was organised to gather some input where visual stimuli was used as a method to compare means of wireless interaction. Conclusion was that the users make an appointment typically via phone due to website difficulties, and voice is important when it comes to technology. It was preferred to integrate or add-on the feature in something they already own or can reuse multiple times.
Key takeaway was that this target group does not favor textual instructions which are therefore translated into the design of the packaging. The key metaphor both visually and functionally contributes to the meaning of use in line of an envisioned inclusive digital culture.
In the Sign Up kit concept, the user experience starts from the moment of receiving the kit by post. Since there is no municipality staff to assist at home, the packaging of the kit needs to be designed in such way that the takeaways from the user sessions are integrated so clear non-textual instructions are provided.
The concept proposes that citizens could sign in for their appointment without having to stop by the kiosk at all. In order to ‘let the municipality know’ that the person arrived for the appointment, the visitor needs to be authenticated. This information could be encoded in their RFID token, that is sent within the Sign Up kit. Apart from personal information, the date, time and type of the appointment is needed as well to be able to allocate the task to the relevant loket within the municipality itself.