Digital · Works

Government Agencies Should Pay Attention to UX

Written by Kalista Cendani, 08 October 2015

Besides family, friends and businesses, one of the most important relationships people have in their lives is with the government. Today, citizens interact with their governments in so many ways and touchpoints are increasingly taking place via websites, mobile apps, or other types of technology.

Commercial relationships differ in the sense that they involve creating or improving experiences on behalf of profit-oriented businesses. The nature of public services is such that its users are also co-owners in a way that customers normally aren’t.

Anyone applying for a business license, paying taxes or looking up public records is taking part in an interaction where they are more than just a user. It goes without saying that most citizen experiences in Indonesia do not properly reflect this reality, although they should.

As a government unit that deals with taxes – one of the most tedious duties citizens are required to fulfill – there is a clear need for DJP to build a solid UX foundation. Like many government agencies, DJP has heavily regulated processes in place that require citizens to make an extra effort to get the information they need.

As an established digital agency, Definite is properly equipped with UX expert and felt the need to help educate service institutions about the importance of good UX. So we cooked up a learning program and presented them in a five-day workshop for Direktorat Jenderal Pajak (DJP) on September 28th, 2015, in their headquarter in Jakarta, Indonesia, with the aim of improving the organization’s online user experience (UX) and educating participants on the virtues of good UX and how to implement it.

UX as Strategy

The first and second day of the workshop covered introductory topics and discussions to drive the home the message that UX is an important foundation for government agencies in delivering their services to citizens. Topics included user research and strategy, business analysis, information architecture, content strategy, and analytics tools.

By implementing UX best practices, we concluded that DJP can greatly benefit from a system that enables users to register their tax accounts and report annual tax payments online with ease, and by improving the platform based on user feedback and analysis of other performance measurements.

Dirjen Pajak Crash Course
Business Director Andra Maulana giving Dirjen Pajak officials a crash course on business analytics on UX

UX as a Visual Aesthetic

One of the biggest obstacles for people interacting with a government system is an ugly interface. People get put off easily by having to fill in long forms, looking at unappealing colors and images positioned where they’re not supposed to be, as well as having to look for important information which are hidden from their immediate line of sight. More often than not, they get lost in the process, opting out of the platform before they even get to finish the task they set out to do.

On the third day of the workshop, we presented approaches and methods for determining which kinds of visual elements should be used to ease the experience when users interact with the system. From interface design principles, how to implement the right hierarchy and flow, the importance of visual consistency, to ways of optimizing design for various screens – the end game is to provide a good story, which good interface designs are derived. Once the story has been identified, we create a visual environment for it.

UX as a Process

We dedicated the fourth and last day of the workshop to putting theory into practice. Participants were asked to prepare a good UX strategy for DJP’s online platform. Divided into four groups of five, they were guided through the user-centered design process, in which they learned how to build personas to portray the target audience, structure information based on the user journeys of these personas, create wireframes and translate them into a working prototype using Marvel as the tool.

The participants showed great eagerness in learning how to build a better UX, and demonstrated a strong understanding of the concept.

All in all, it has been a great experience for our team. Through teaching we gained a better understanding of UX and how we can improve the integration of the process in our own works. The discussions sparked new insights we were previously not aware of, and spurred us to think of better ways to build a platform for DJP’s online system.

Ultimately, the key takeaway for us from the workshop is what happens during the sharing of knowledge. By imparting it to others, you will gain new ones. Join us here.

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