Helping people navigate the complexities of government

The design and delivery of services that centre around people’s needs.

Posted by Mark Kirkpatrick on June 20, 2019

It’s been a busy year, an energising time working with a team of creative, committed people, leading the Navigate Programme in delivering for service users across New Zealand.

paper prototype Prototype often, prototype early

The Navigate Programme

The Navigate programme was initiated in response to ministerial impetus, and user research relating to building better government digital services that reflect best practice internationally, designed and applied to meet changing local needs and expectations.

Some issues in government digital service delivery include:

  • Challenges to design and deliver services that centre around people’s needs (not agency portfolios)
  • People expecting to engage with government where, when and how they want
  • The government system not being well positioned to deliver on these expectations

Government Information Services (GIS) at DIA commissioned the Navigate programme of work to test new approaches around content, design and tools (and indeed structures, culture) for government in New Zealand.

The work

After an intense phase hiring the right people to lead the work (talent across UX, Development, User Research, product, delivery etc.), the team initiated various co-design pieces of work including:

  1. An All-of-government design system
  2. A structured content model for government services A government IA; the triggers that drive people to use services
  3. Exploratory work with Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Maori regarding approaches in incorporating Te Reo Maori into services ‘Life events’ integration with applications such as govt.nz, data.govt.nz etc.

The main criteria that informed us was that work would be:

  • Based on user needs (relevant - user = government)
  • Manageable within constraints (achievable goals)
  • Most impactful (measurable results)

All of this work coincided with the release and bedding down of the Digital Service Design Standard, and continues to evolve to reflect that.

A Digital Service Design Framework

Having done some initial exploratory work via the Navigate programme; prototyping, testing, validating with users, we are now building on, co-designing the tools, platforms, standards as part of The Digital Service Design Framework work-stream.

We want to help government achieve consensus as to what ‘good’ looks like and what is useful in improving people-centred service design.

We want to build a framework that is valued and used,consumed and contributed to actively; and we look forward to working with communities, building for our current and future selves.