MSD's fragmented services and complex, manual processes meant we supported clients financially, but disempowered them, encouraging dependence on staff to do things for them instead of building independence. Clients were “frustrated” that MSD remained “buried in paper” and current online services were inaccessible. Before deciding on services or technology, we learned how we made them feel, and what services and channels would help them most. This allowed us to explore opportunities for developing and improving services with clients at the centre. Clients can navigate MyMSD easily to independently serve themselves and have control of their own information. They can do things like check payments, manage appointments and apply for hardship grants where and when it suits them, and on a device of their choice.
The simplification programme comprised numerous user interviews, a review of current procedures, user testing of prototypes of both digital and physical ideas, and implementation of a whole new customer -centric language. MyMSD has received a customer satisfaction rate of 97%, with an average of 130,000 daily user sessions. We credit this success to the fact that every aspect of the service design has been extensively tested with MSD's clients. The feedback, was used to develop and refine functionality to deliver a service tailored to the needs of the client.
The by-product of a more accessible, easier to use system for the client is that MSD was able to achieve fiscal efficiencies in the social services sector. The MyMSD channel saves time and money for both clients and the Ministry. With an average session time of 3.5 minutes, clients are able to accomplish all their administration tasks much faster than by phone or in person at the service centre. Similarly, staff are freed-up from transactional tasks and can focus their time and resources on supporting their clients to have better outcomes. The design and execution of MyMSD was a team effort. The staff and stakeholders were engaged in the research and user testing stages, resulting in staff championing the service throughout the Ministry.
The design brief for MyMSD included the development of a digital brand that was to become a key brand for MSD's current and future online services. The approach involved extensive consultation with key stakeholders across MSD, and was underpinned by comprehensive customer research and feedback. The brand itself enabled us to execute a fresh, light, uncluttered design with plenty of resting white space, giving a feeling of openness and approachability. The user experience, digital brand and all elements, including word, icon and colour, were validated by clients at each stage of the programme. We had to justify why elements were put in, rather than why they should be removed.
Government agencies can be risk when implementing access control into digital services. MSD was required to use RealMe, the New Zealand all-of-government identity management and verification platform for login. This experience can be clunky and a strong barrier to use. The project opted to also provide a simpler alternative by putting in place 4 digit PIN access for MyMSD after first time use. This PIN is linked to the client's device. This approach leverages design patterns that people are familiar with via mobile apps, but involves smart design and technology thinking to provide the required online security with ease of use for the consumer.