May 28 2024

Citizens First: Modernization with a Human-Centered Design

State and local agencies benefit greatly by keeping an eye on the user when updating systems.

In the complex and ever-evolving landscape of state and local governments, the need for modernization that addresses citizens’ frustrations is more important than ever.

Human-centered design is a powerful approach that places the human experience at the forefront of the design process to help guarantee citizen satisfaction.

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What Is Human-Centered Design?

HCD is more than just a methodology; it is a thought process that recognizes the diverse and unique perspectives and needs of individuals. HCD is a creative and iterative process that focuses on developing solutions that are not only functional and efficient but also aligned with users’ perspectives and preferences. By empathizing with the people affected by policies, services, products and programs, government agencies can unlock the potential for solutions that are not only effective but also inclusive and user friendly.

The modernization process can be complex and daunting. Using a human-centered design approach will provide a collaborative and iterative structure for the modernization journey. Having the end user in mind from the beginning will improve and simplify the process.

Here are three key steps that can help an organization or agency modernize with HCD:

Identify What’s Working and What Isn’t for Citizens

Identify the end-user issues that are creating a disconnect with citizens. Start by identifying what’s not working, what applications are too slow and what functions aren’t performing as they should.

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This identification process should involve focus groups, research and an assortment of other methods to discover citizens’ needs. The process can take weeks, but this extensive assessment will yield accurate data and create the empathy necessary to find the right path to modernization.

Diagnosing the overall issues will require an extensive look into government IT systems and infrastructure. Managed service providers have the tools and experts to identify the challenges and provide solutions that build citizen satisfaction into any modernization.

READ MORE: Strategic application modernization assessments help to rethink legacy systems.

Talk to Stakeholders to Understand Challenges

Conduct interviews with stakeholders and employees. A holistic brainstorming process can ensure that the organization understands internal challenges.

It’s a good idea to have HCD ideation and design workshops to inform and educate at every level of the organization to help everyone understand the objectives and changes taking place.

Make a Plan That Is Agile and Inclusive

Create an agile and inclusive plan. Once administrators have a complete view of their organization’s challenges and opportunities, they can create a more effective modernization strategy.

Agencies can use an HCD approach to design a strategy focused on identifying problems and testing solutions in the middle of deployment to save time and reduce risk. An agile strategy based on research can guarantee a more seamless integration and higher user satisfaction when investing in new or existing applications.

A human-centered design focus for a government modernization process can provide citizens with the service experience they have come to expect.

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