While most government organizations provide digital experiences that are compliant with respect to legally defined disabilities, this does not mean that those experiences accommodate people with other barriers. In fact, those compliant solutions often do not meet basic usability expectations.
Government organizations should design for a better user experience that considers a wide range of digital barriers such as digital accessibility, broadband connectivity and other barriers (e.g., limited digital literacy, English as a second language) and should implement a framework to measure if their solutions are meeting customer expectations.
Since the dawn of the internet in the 1980s, our digital capabilities and means of connection have evolved rapidly over time. The general public has now come to expect a seamless digital experience, but not everyone has been able to keep up with these expectations. Government and public services have often fallen short when it comes to digital infrastructure and design. While all government and public services are required to adhere to The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Section 501 compliance for accessibility, not all services are rendered usable solely because they meet compliance standards. In fact, about 3 in 10 federal — and 2 in 10 in state and local — respondents say the need to meet regulatory requirements is the primary driver of their approach to design — suggesting many agencies may still lag in meeting emerging digital access needs. Government services must go beyond mere legal compliance to account for a wide range of digital barriers such as accessibility, broadband connectivity and digital literacy.
Our goal is to introduce important user experience considerations that are often an afterthought when creating digital tools and platforms. If the topics discussed in this paper are of interest to you and your teams, please reach out to our EY team to find out more about how we design and develop seamless digital experiences.