Dealing with government process in Indonesia is often not a pleasant experience, due to its bureaucracy, inefficiencies, and uncertainties.

This happened recently to me when I tried to extend my passport. The requirements were unclear, there were duplication of steps required on the paperwork despite the same information has been supplied online, and unclear issue resolution. In total, it took me about 2 months of processing to extend my passport.

But the purpose of this article is not to complain, but rather to offer ways to improve the public experience in their interaction with the government.

UX design approach in government and public services is not something new. Work Pass Division Singapore collaborated with IDEO to enhance their service experience and managed to improve the rate of 80% visitors served within 30 minutes, to 95% served within 15 minutes (http://www.ideo.com/work/business-process-redesign). UK government published Government Service Design manual to guide their experience design process to deliver better services for the public (https://www.gov.uk/service-manual). There is even a conference dedicated for Service Design in Government – http://govservicedesign.net.

Indonesian Passport. Image source: http://peruri.co.id/valuable-documents/52/paspor

Indonesian Passport. Image source: http://peruri.co.id/valuable-documents/52/paspor

We can do this in Indonesia too. Take an example of the passport renewal experience that I encountered previously. Here are four steps that the immigration office can do to employ UX design to improve this experience:

1. Research the customers and map the current customer journey

Interview the customers (i.e., the citizens who are renewing their passports) and understand their goals, expectations, and constraints. Walk through the current process of renewing passport from beginning until the end, and identify the high and low points of the experience, what are the confusions and why.
Only through this will we truly develop empathy towards our customers. Only with empathy we can design something that matters for the customers.

2. Co-create the solutions

Once we identify the areas that need improvements, we can then ideate for solutions to improve the experience. Involve the organization stakeholders (i.e., the policy maker, the staff, the customer support) as well as the customers (i.e., the citizens) in the design process. The approach of participatory design for public services has been used in many occasions and proven to be more effective than designing in silo.