Own the whole user experience
A service may have multiple products built by different teams — you need a service manager who understands and owns the whole user experience.
We know that people struggle to get things done with government because services are fragmented. We force people to learn how government is structured to do what they need to do.
We need to understand the current user experience and where it includes different products that may be owned by other parts of government.
This means we need to work across government to do the hard work to make it simple for users. We’re legislatively bound to work together to build better services for people.
To build the right thing we need a senior service manager who can take responsibility for the whole user experience.
Meeting the Digital Service Standard
You need a service manager to own the service and a team to build and maintain it to meet these criteria:
- Criteria 1: Understand user needs
- Criteria 2: Have a multidisciplinary team
- Criteria 3: Agile and user-centred process
- Criteria 9: Make it accessible
- Criteria 10: Test the service
- Criteria 12: Don’t forget the non-digital experience
The Digital Service Standard guides teams to build services that are simpler, clearer and faster.
Government services and products
A service is something that helps someone do something: like being able to drive, buy a house or become a teacher.
Services are a group of transactions, activities or information that share a user need. They might take place online or offline.
The user might need to deal with different parts of government or third-party suppliers to use the service to get what they need done.
Government services are different from commercial services because often the user doesn’t have a choice of how to use the service. The user has to go through the service in the way that government designs it, and often this design is not simple or easy to follow.
Services use products
A service may need smaller products to meet user needs. For example, being able to drive might involve these products:
- information on what you need to learn to drive — an information product
- an online driving knowledge test — a web application product
- booking a driving test — a calendar booking product
- getting a driving license — a process that creates a physical card
- paying your annual fee — an online payment product
If these products are owned by different parts of government that are working in different ways it can make it harder for the user to do what they need to do.
This is why we need service managers that own the whole experience.
User experience and user journeys
A user journey is the series of processes and touchpoints that the user needs to go through to complete the service. Different users could go through similar user journeys but may have completely different user experiences.
For example, a user who doesn’t have a stable internet connection may have a bad user experience when they try to complete the service. Another user may go through a similar journey with a good connection and have a good user experience.
Owning the whole user experience means that you try to create a good experience for all users and all journeys.
Service manager role
Every service needs a single service manager that owns the whole experience for the user.
The service manager makes sure each product works together to give the user a consistent experience.
Service managers are experienced leaders with a strong understanding of their service and its users. They:
- represent their service at all levels in agencies
- work to ensure the service is delivered successfully and meets its users’ needs
- have the decision-making authority to complete the service
User needs, not government needs
To build services that are complete and reflect the whole user experience we need to start with needs: user needs, not government needs.
Owning the whole user experience means a service:
- reflects how users think about the service, what they want to do and is built on users’ needs
- has a beginning, middle and end that reflects how the needs of users change (for example, finding out if you’re eligible to become a teacher is different to gathering documents so you can apply)
- can be completed as needed — by phone, online and on paper
- is accessible to everyone (for example, people who may be in a wheelchair, someone who is blind or deaf, or someone who is having memory problems because of stress)