In today’s always-on, user friendly online world, customers have grown accustomed to interactive digital technologies – searching, shopping, playing games and viewing all kinds of apps and entertainment online.
So it’s not surprising that the recent Citizen Experience survey we completed with the Center for Digital Government underscored how respondents fully expect to access and use digital technologies to interact with government in much the same way.
This also explains why most people tend to quickly lose patience with cumbersome user interfaces, overly complicated bureaucratic processes, or information that’s difficult to locate on government websites.
Digging further into the survey results, it’s clear that state governments must adapt to improve engagement and streamline online operations, especially those processes focused on eligibility and enrollment, to help constituents accomplish more when they search for government services online.
Here are four things state governments can do to help constituents access and use more digital government services.
- Make websites more usable and accessible to everyone. Keep website information up-to-date and accessible. When renovating your website, focus on Section 508 compliance. You should also consider surveying your audience to measure the website’s usability and accessibility strengths and weaknesses. Several survey respondents mentioned difficulties they have faced accessing and using digital government services. According to one respondent, state websites, “are too hard to navigate. The searches don’t work; they only pull up documents that are of no use. I can’t find even simple processes because I don’t know what they call them. It’s not intuitive.”
- Improve mobile access to government services. The trend toward using smartphones and tablets or any type of mobile devices to access government services is expected to rise. Although past use of government services via a mobile device was relatively low, 72 percent of respondents were interested in using a mobile device to access state services in the future.
- Improve Identity and Access Management (IAM). With the right combination of multi-factor authentication in place, state governments can identify and authenticate constituents quickly to help them gain access and confirm eligibility to use crucial government services. Some states are already exploring methods used in the private sector to authenticate users, such as multi-factor authentication with biometrics, or using text/SMS messaging to authenticate and ensure user identities online.
- Think Apps! To help each state’s residents pay taxes, acquire proper licenses, pay fines or fees, or register to vote, governments must develop or find new apps and services that allow their residents to accomplish such tasks online. Here’s a list of top ten government services that respondents said they most wanted to complete online:
Pay taxes – cited by 35%
Obtain/renew a driver’s license or vehicle registration – 33%
Pay a fine or fee – 23%
Register to vote – 22%
Apply for a government job – 20%
Obtain a fishing or hunting license – 16%
Obtain a camping or other recreational permit – 16%
Register for social services 14%
Enroll in a government-run health insurance or a health exchange – 13%
Take a state exam; file for unemployment; license a business (3-way tie) – 10%
To recap: The Center for Digital Government conducted a nationwide survey on behalf of Conduent earlier this year, interviewing more than 2,000 citizens to better understand their perspectives on government service delivery. The survey focused on citizen interactions and experiences with digital and traditional government services.
In the years ahead, state governments are expected to embrace more digital technologies, even leading-edge advances such as blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT), which are already being tested in certain areas. Learning more about such advances will greatly help state governments keep up with the pace of change, and stay competitive with other states in the delivery of cost-effective, efficient public services.
To view the full report, please click here for a free download.