On one of my recent projects, we were asked to deliver a new Information Architecture for a government website that reflected the depth and breath of its programs. A key challenge for this project was deciding on how to deliver to their customers, information on the broad range of programs that they offered, in a way that was findable and met their customer’s needs.
Our approach was to investigate the information needs of stakeholders and end users of the departmental website and based on this research, develop a new information architecture for the site. Our aim was to deliver a modern effective, user-centered approach to the information architecture (IA) that focused on the user experience and embedding value into the website’s content and IA.
We focused on user tasks and triggers as we found how the department was structured internally was less relevant to a customer who is seeking information on a specific topic, to do a specific task at a specific time.
Delivering an outstanding customer experience in government is difficult because everyday customers are also doing business with commercial companies like Amazon and Virgin Australia who excel in customer service and those customer experiences drive high expectations for interacting with any organisation, let alone government agencies.
Customer experience (CX) is based on the perception a customer will have when they interact with the agency or any product and service within the organisation. Each time they interact with a website and use any other channel (including digital social media channels), the perception of and trust they have in that agency is impacted.
Task Driven Personas
We conducted stakeholder workshops to identify the numbers and types of users and focused on their needs, rather than what the business areas felt was important to publish. As we know, users come to a website with a specific task in mind. If it isn’t easy to find or if the task can’t be quickly completed, they’ll leave.
The outcomes of the workshops were analysed to provide insights into the key stakeholders and groups who visited the site and we documented Personas’s common tasks and triggers that led to those tasks.
Analysis of Website Data
A content analysis was undertaken on website statistics for the past 12-24 months and together with the information we had gathered in the workshops, we determined what users were looking for when they came to the site. This helped us to identify the users’ top tasks.
Once we identified a top task, we didn’t just focus on one piece of information, or one web page, at a time. Instead, we thought about how that piece of information fitted into the task people are trying to complete and used that to also inform the site structure and the wireframes.
Key Steps to Delivering a Better Customer Experience
In summary, here are some of the key steps to delivering a a better customer experience in government:
Determine who your most important customers are and the primary tasks they want to accomplish. These top tasks should be based on quantitative and qualitative web analytics data.
- Understand what events trigger their search
Identify their primary pain points
Know what content areas are of high value to users
- Define clearly what you want the customer experience to be (do an experience vision)
- XConduct usability testing to measure if customers are now better able to complete their tasks.