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Design principles

The following 10 principles need to inform all transactional service design. By adhering to these principles, government can create and run good digital services.

1. Understand user needs

Research to develop a deep knowledge of a service’s users and their context for the service.

2. Do ongoing user research

Develop a plan to conduct ongoing user research and usability testing of the service. The results of this research will continuously inform how we can improve it.

3. Have a multidisciplinary team

Put in place a suitable multidisciplinary team that can design, build and operate the service, led by a suitably skilled, adequately resourced and senior service manager with decision-making responsibility.

4. Use agile methods

Build your service using agile and user-centered methods as set out in the Standard. Continuously and frequently iterate and improve on the service.

5. Understand security and privacy issues

Evaluate what user data and information the digital service will be providing or storing, as well as its location and retention schedule. Address security levels, legal responsibilities, privacy issues and risks associated with operating the service.

6. Test the end-to-end service

Be able to test the end-to-end service in an environment identical to that of the live version, including on all required browsers and devices using test accounts and a representative sample of users.

7. Make contingency plans

Make a plan for the event of the digital service being taken temporarily offline and unavailable. Users expect that an online service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year so you need to know how people will be affected and how to get it back online.

8. Encourage everyone to use the digital service

Encourage all people to use the digital service alongside an appropriate plan to phase out non-digital channels and services. Until the non-digital options are phased out, ensure these channels and services can be used without repetition or confusion.

9. Collect and report on performance data

Use recommended tools to collect performance data and establish benchmarks in order to measure the success of the service. Use this data to analyze the service and to translate this into features and tasks for the next phase of iterative improvement.

10. Test with senior stakeholders

Test the service from end-to-end with senior stakeholders, such as Directors, Deputy Ministers and Ministers before it goes to public beta and live. These people are responsible for the delivery of the service and are accountable for what’s produced by their branch or department.

Last update:
May 23, 2017