Situation

Following a considerable investment in the creation of a cutting-edge e-services platform, our client, a Swiss cantonal government, approached us with the following challenge: despite the obvious benefits– huge time savings and flexibility – it kept failing to attract users.

This problem was due to two major factors: People didn’t understand the offering, so were reluctant to registering, and those who were enthusiastic enough to register, were soon confronted with another hurdle: obtaining access to the desired services and functionalities.

Approach

Having conducted a thorough situation analysis we decided to concentrate on the two most crucial user touch-points: the Sign-up Site and the Portal Homepage. The former is a public landing page serving as doorway to the secure platform environment. It is also a help center providing tier one support to new and existing users; the latter is a navigation panel, or dashboard, from which users can access the desired services.

Starting with the “Sign-up Site” we soon uncovered the following pain points:

  • The site structure was confused and little intuitive
  • Language used on the site was too technical and didn’t focus on the customer benefits
  • Supporting documentation was minimal, difficult to access and out of date
  • The actual sign-up procedure wasn’t explained anywhere, nor was there a description of the available services
  • Presentation of content was very clinical with little visual support

Besides these obvious shortcomings our Client’s project team was also struggling with an outdated CMS and a longwinded content updating procedure: every modification had to be submitted as a “ticket request” and was handled by an external provider.

Our first recommendation was therefore to migrate to an easy-to-use open source CMS which could be managed directly by employees.

In a second step we took a closer look at the actual content and its ability to serve the site’s main purpose: driving visitors to the sign-up form. This was done in the form of archetype user journeys, which we developed depending on the different users’ profiles (e.g. individuals or corporations).

Following this exercise we came up with a set of recommendations which would be put in place by our team in real time within a staging environment, enabling our Client to see them “in action” and give concrete feedback. Besides we also spent a considerable amount of time reviewing reports from the support call center to understand the most common queries. These insights would then be used to update the on-site help section, i.e. FAQs and user manuals.

As for the “Portal Homepage”, users were faced with two major obstacles:

  • The total amount of services available didn’t appear anywhere
  • Many services require a separate activation, using a code which can only be obtained from physical administrative counters or via mail – this wasn’t clear to many users
  • To resolve these flaws we introduced the concept of an “allowances shop” similar to an App Store, where users can pick and choose the services they would like to sign up to, just by one click

Results

Upon project completion our client was left with a fully functional prototype, ready for “plug and play” and built according to the latest usability standards, including an intuitive and easy-to-use menu navigation and site structure. This new site would reduce a standard user journey to a third of the original time. In addition to that they also received a highly innovative concept to be implemented in a near phase 2 which will present a tremendous improvement of their customers’ experience and service satisfaction.