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Is anybody knows any examples of using UCD methods to design better country/government? Is this even possbile to designing things like departments activity to be more citizen-friendly? I'm just wondering how can we improve some areas of life in community by changing goverment methods?

UCD it's about knowing real needs in first steps, right? So, why people who manages our countries couldn't just meet our needs first, and on this knowledge try to build country in which we are living?

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closed as too broad by Charles Wesley, rk., JonW Aug 8 '13 at 21:09

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
I think you'll need to refine the question down a bit to looking at specific government interactions with citizens rather than 'better government'. –  PhillipW Aug 8 '13 at 16:59
    
UCD = democracy? (But anyone in design knows that a democracy often leads to lackluster design...) –  DA01 Aug 8 '13 at 18:49

2 Answers 2

I think the answer is infinitely big, as it involves a big question on the level of citizens' participation in government, if democracy can be taught, and if Protagoras and Aristotle had some points against Socrates and Plato etc.

Until we solve these issues, we can see user-centered design to help government in various levels. For example,

  1. Monitoring gov: Designing to monitor government, so that citizens can report issues or request changes. E.g., Open spending.
  2. Design for citizens: Governments can suggest design guidelines as to help citizens use public services. E.g., Gov.UK Design Principles.
  3. Design with citizens: Governments or other organisations can start initiatives that help citizens participate in their communities. E.g., Participatory budgeting.

These are meant to be examples and surely not a definite list, more like a starting point I would say. Moreover, I do not necessarily endorse these specific websites but I most certainly applaud the effort.

A mix of those techniques is sometimes put in practice at various hackathons, where citizens' or other organisations provide some ideas/requirements and designers/developers work on these ideas intensively for a short period of time (anything from a couple of days to a couple of weeks). They're exciting to look at, but only UCD in the sense that the developers don't build their own apps and that ideas come from citizens. Because they're brief though, these apps don't go through thorough user evaluation more often than not.

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The UK Government is now on its third version of a 'general information portal' of government services.

Here's an article on user testing it.

And here's the live site.

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