Governments around the world have started to rely on more digital government services. Ideally these new websites offer fast and efficient solutions. But the shaky rollout of HealthCare.gov served as a prime example of how digital government is not always good government. A new report from the Boston Consulting Group describes how different countries are approaching digital government. The authors surveyed over 12,000 users about their experiences and satisfaction with using online government services. The survey collected results from 12 different countries, including the U.S., the U.K., Australia, and France. The report finds that satisfaction varies throughout the world.
Throughout both the developed and developing world governments are expanding their online offerings. The average respondent had access to 10 different digital government services. These services include more frequently used services like community consultation, employment services, and health care. Developed countries reported higher levels of satisfaction with these digital services than developing nations. Across the spectrum of developed and developing nations, four out of five users believe that online services provided by the government have improved.
Satisfaction varied across countries. 56 percent of Malaysians and 52 percent of Indonesians perceived online government services to be far worse than private services. 60 percent of users in the United Arab Emirates and 53 percent of those in Saudi Arabia were most satisfied with online government services. Americans favor private services by a large margin (42 to 22).
The report also describes areas where users believe governments can improve. One third of users reported having no problems or issues with the online services. Those surveyed were most interested in easy to access services rather than new ones. Users want simpler and easier-to-use websites (51 percent), greater reassurances on the privacy of information (47 percent), and more personalized or tailored services (34 percent).
There is clear evidence that users want to see online services continue to grow and develop. For example despite the rocky launch of Healthcare.gov, Americans reported the highest rates of satisfaction (55 percent) with searching for, registering for, or accessing health care services. American users also reported the highest levels of satisfaction in other categories such as participating in community consultation/online surveys (58 percent), accessing cultural, heritage, or similar facilities (66 percent), and searching, registering, or accessing health care records (57 percent).
The report argues that governments should focus on adding and maintaining the value of those services constituents need and use most, rather than building content that may go to waste. Furthermore, there is a strong emphasis on building tools that incorporate concerns about the user experience into the design. In the future as technology in the private sector improves, pressure on governments to deliver digital services will only increase. Governments must develop the capacity to develop and maintain new service delivery websites and applications.
Find the full report here.
Aaron Locke contributed to this post.