We start this blog entry with a trip down memory lane. Imagine you are back in 2012, waiting at the bus stop to get to work. It’s 7:48am, then 7:53am and finally 8:01am… Your bus was due to arrive at 7:40. ‘What the heck is happening?’ you wonder, your emotions running from impatience to outrage.
As you are solutions-oriented, you decide to call Mobiliteit.lu to find out what is happening. Since it’s a call centre you aren’t sure an advisor will be available.
Note: For those not living in the Grand Duchy, Mobiliteit.lu is a service provided by the Luxembourgish Ministry of Mobility and Public Works that helps you plan your journey and includes all modes of transport.
Can you imagine experiencing this in 2023?
We trust it’s an obvious and resounding no. With the arrival of their mobile application, Mobiliteit app, they have simplified the way residents and cross-border workers find out about delays and other inconveniences. Now ten years later, the application has been downloaded more than a million times. And this is what we call the citizen experience.
Citizen vs customer: Navigating the nuances of experience
In other words, we are talking about the experience lived and felt by anyone using an object or a service, and it’s opening up a new chapter to designers. At the crossroads of civic engagement and democratic participation, citizen experience is the set of points of contact that a resident encounters when interacting with government services and public institutions.
We can say that citizen experience in the public sector is similar to the customer experience in the private sector companies, but viewed through a different lens. Just think about your experiences with your favourite brand: What characteristics set their services apart from other brands? Do they make the buying process easier? Are promotional offers visible at first glance? Can you get help? Unlike your favourite brand, for government agencies serving the community means:
- Provide relevant services;
- Make services accessible;
- Enable citizens to easily find the information they need;
- Whether by physical or digital means.
Why is citizen experience important?
Interactions between citizens and government leaders influence the level of trust the public places in the government. When citizens find it easy to engage with the government, they become more inclined to communicate their real-life encounters with government officials and provide feedback, which in turn, leads to the development of more pertinent citizen services. As a result, communities:
- Show a higher tendency to adhere to government regulations, which is particularly crucial in cases involving health-related guidelines.
- Are more likely to have faith in their governments and hence demonstrate increased civic engagement and a higher likelihood of participating in voting, thereby fostering more prosperous societies.
Therefore, seamless citizen experience in Luxembourg offers a range of advantages that contribute to the well-being and prosperity of its residents, which has a positive impact on society as a whole.
We can also see positive effects on the economy. By reducing administrative burden and encouraging innovation, Luxembourg can attract businesses, entrepreneurs, and talent, driving economic growth and job creation. That is how Luxembourg can be an attractive place for foreign residents and investors.
In Luxembourg, a sense of reliance from citizens is closely connected to advancements in digital technology. Indeed, by using data and technology, the Grand Duchy can tailor services to the specific needs of its citizens. This connection became more apparent after a ministry, focused on this technological field, was established in 2018.
Over the last three years, PwC Experience Center Luxembourg has worked in close collaboration with numerous public service stakeholders, whether it concerns health, education or digitalisation, to participate in creating this seamless citizen experience.
In this blog, we give you an overview of these trends, while providing our perspective on the citizen experience’s future in Luxembourg and exploring how the User Experience (UX) designers of today can prepare to respond to these changes. To achieve this, we asked Marion Massot from the Experience Center for her input.
What are the emerging trends regarding citizen experience in Luxembourg?
The automation of government services is booming in Luxembourg. More and more sophisticated online platforms are being set up to facilitate administrative procedures, permit applications, and even social services.
Citizens can now perform certain tasks without having to physically go to government offices, therefore gaining in efficiency and convenience. This is why the interface, the right wording as well as the physical or immaterial interaction need to be irreproachable to seek the continuous involvement of citizens.
Taking an interest in how people use a product or service makes it possible to transform citizen experience into a fluid dialogue, therefore reinforcing the feeling of trust.
Example: Administrative procedures. Previously, citizens had to personally go to a government office, fill out paperwork and wait in line. Thanks to digitisation efforts, individuals can now apply for a birth certificate online, submit the necessary details electronically, and receive documents through digital channels.
Growing use of mobile devices
Mobile devices play an increasingly important role in citizen experience. Citizens expect to be able to access government services and important information from their smartphones and tablets. Mobile applications dedicated to public services are now gaining popularity. To better understand this concept, see the example below.
Example: GouvID: the Luxembourg government’s app enables citizens to use their Luxembourgish electronic ID card (eID) together with their smartphone for authentication purposes, granting them access to specific online public services such as MyGuichet.lu (an information portal that simplifies citizens’ exchanges with the state), whether on a computer or tablet.
Accessibility is a priority, with efforts to make online services accessible to people with disabilities, but also to society as a whole. The interfaces’ visual aesthetics and ergonomics impact the user’s perception of the experience offered, but real efficiency will result in respect for the principles of accessibility and inclusion.
Services and platforms need to be designed to be accessible to everyone, regardless of disability, spoken language or technological skill level. The aim is to ensure that every citizen can participate fully, without exclusion or discrimination.
Example: Assessment of public sites and applications accessibility. The government’s Information and Press Service (SIP) is continuously evaluating public websites and apps for accessibility. They use the RGAA (General Accessibility Framework for Administrations) framework tailored for Luxembourg to guide them in this effort.
SIP checks digital content, publishes reports, and handles accessibility complaints, acting as a mediator. They also raise awareness about the legal framework and manage the accessibility portal, offering resources to enhance website and app accessibility, along with a tool for generating accessibility declarations.
What possible scenarios could there be regarding the citizen experience’s evolution in Luxembourg?
AI could redefine interaction
Artificial intelligence (AI) will continue to reshape the way citizens interact with services, and this will impact public services. Various virtual assistants will become smarter and able to respond to a wider range of questions and requests. UX designers will have to design interfaces that allow natural communication between citizens and these AI systems.
Example: Public debates on AI regulation. Some countries and cities have held public consultations to discuss potential AI regulations. For example, the European Commission has launched consultations to gather citizens’ and stakeholders’ opinions on the matter. This new technology stands as a transformative force, promising societal benefits and economic growth.
While the Artificial Intelligence Act (AIA)‘s provisions encompass a broad spectrum of AI systems, those integrated into regulated sectors will align with sector-specific testing and certification procedures. By establishing clear guidelines, the AIA aims to strike a balance between fostering innovation and safeguarding societal well-being in the realm of AI. We, at PwC Luxembourg, conducted the third edition of our study “Use of Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence in Luxembourg” to generate insights on the use of Data & AI technologies in Luxembourg.
Expansion of citizen participation
Citizens are becoming more aware of their role in public life and their desire to participate is growing. Whether through virtual public consultations, online surveys or workshops, this set of means will allow citizens to actively contribute to public policies. UX designers play a crucial role in creating engaging experiences that encourage everyone to participate.
Example: Map gender equality with “Gender Equal Snow Plowing“. Launched in 2015 by the municipality of Stockholm, Sweden, it’s an interactive map that aims to make the city’s streets more accessible to women, children and people with disabilities.
Carolina Falkholt and Lisa Lindén are the two artists behind this project, which encouraged the focus on snow removal from pavements, cycle paths and bus lanes, as opposed to main streets frequented by cars. This is because women are more likely to travel on foot or by bike than men, and therefore are more affected by winter conditions.
Enhanced trust and transparency
Citizens’ trust in public institutions remains a vital element of the civic experience. Innovation specialists will need to work closely with governance experts to design interfaces that enhance transparency, provide clear information on policy decisions, and ensure the security of personal data.
Example: Public consultation platform in Canada. This public service consultation platform allows citizens to comment and rate government services online. Users can share positive feedback, flag areas for improvement and raise issues. The aim is to involve citizens in improving services by taking their opinions into account, increase transparency and allow government agencies to adjust their services based on user feedback.
How can public services get ready for these (possible) upcoming changes?
The citizen experience in Luxembourg is changing rapidly under the influence of technology and the growing expectations of citizens. Our designers in the Experience Center have a crucial role to play in shaping this evolution in a positive way. By anticipating trends, continuously learning, and adopting a user-centric approach, they can help create modern, seamless, and engaging citizen experiences.
In this regard, they are adopting a proactive approach to anticipate future developments in citizen experience. This includes:
- Continuing education: Stay up to date with the latest technology trends and best practices for designing user-friendly and accessible interfaces.
- Understanding local issues: An in-depth knowledge of the specific needs, values and concerns of the Luxembourg population is essential to create relevant and meaningful experiences.
- Cross-disciplinary collaboration: Working closely with governance and experts is crucial to designing solutions that address the complex challenges of citizen experience through running workshops and live sessions with all actors from the civil world.
- Ethics and privacy: The need to address ethical issues related to the collection and use of citizen data.
What we think
A seamless citizen experience builds citizens’ trust in their government. When interactions between citizens and public authorities are effective, transparent and satisfactory, it creates a climate of trust essential for a well-functioning society.Marion Massot, Senior UX Designer, Experience Center, at PwC Luxembourg
A positive experience fosters trust, encourages civic participation and strengthens the relationship between individuals and their government. By focusing on efficiency, responsiveness and inclusivity, a government can significantly elevate the overall experience for its citizens.Grégory Weber, Managing Director, Experience Center, at PwC Luxembourg