The article, “6 Principles Of Digital Design For Civic Innovation,” is a must-read for those thinking beyond just delivering digital services and focusing on customer experience and the end-user.
But even more than standard approach to design, what Tomorrow Partners and San Francisco did was take into account human emotion. It’s one thing to test whether a user had a good experience with a product, but it’s another to actually strive and gauge for delight, as mentioned in the article, or happiness, as discussed here earlier in “Can government deliver happiness?”
While this concept may seems touchy-feely for government, it’s a practice more will embrace as innovators realize they can change public perception by simply having a personality (and living up to it). It’s not hard, but it does take leadership and a little bit of courage.
Dealing with the government can be a tremendous source of angst. Tomorrow Partners wanted the site to be delightful. Simply put, it was making the experience of interacting with the city pain-free, simple, and, in some ways, enjoyable.
“There’s a level of fun—but not too fun—and a little bit of happiness in the Portal,” Brink says. “It’s human, not ‘government.’ It speaks to you about possibility and it excites you to start a business.”
Tomorrow Partners worked to dispel the notion that interacting with the government would be a terrible ordeal. Reversing those perceptions won’t be easy, but the firm says things are moving in the right direction. “Design is a core ingredient to making that successful,” Brink says. “Technology streamlines some if it, but making a delightful user experience is core to it as well. The two go hand in hand. It moves beyond the website to inform how you interact with people when you walk through the doors of city hall.”