Involving end users to improve Antwerpen.be
The City of Antwerp opts for a thorough digital service tailored to its inhabitants, companies, visitors, students, … Digipolis Antwerp, the IT partner of the city, works this challenge every day. They assist their colleagues at the City, OCMW, Zorgbedrijf and the police, realize ICT projects and provide a qualitative and stable support for operational applications and infrastructure.
If parents want to organise holiday care for their children in Antwerp today, they start to search online. Suppose they are looking for an activity for the 6-year-old son during the holidays, They have plenty of options. They can go to the Antwerp sport weeks, but just as well to the holiday studios of the Antwerp museums, the playgrounds or the A-card activities.
When the childcare center of the daughter of 2 is closed that same week, parents can look for childcare or childcare services organised by the city or by other organisations. The search leads them along antwerpen.be to subsites and third-party sites. The offer is very large, but fragmented.
‘Ondernemen en Stadsmarketing’, a department of the City of Antwerp, wanted to change that and asked the UX-team of Digipolis to help them to find out how this offer could be better attuned to the target groups. That required a user-centered design approach. We put the end-users, the parents and their children, at the heart of the design process. We learned about their needs, this way the digital offering of the city can be tailored accordingly.
What we did
A number of workshops with users and stakeholders were organised. During the user workshops, parents told us why they visit the website Antwerpen.be, what information they expected and how they wanted this information. The stakeholders gave us insight into their organisation and their offer for parents and children and shared their experiences with these users.
- 2 user workshops with parents of children between 3 and 24 years
- 1 user workshop with expectant parents or people with a desire to have children and parents of children between 0 and 3 years old
- 5 stakeholder workshops with city services: Youth and Culture, Houses of the Child, Education, Childcare and Sport
During these workshops we looked for answers to the following questions:
- Who are the users (groups) of the website? Primary, secondary users?
- Which tasks do users want to perform on the site? Main tasks, subtasks, …
- What are the touchpoints between the city and its target groups?
- Positive / negative experiences? …
Both users (parents) and stakeholders (city services) were very enthusiastic about working on a user-friendly website and an improved digital offering. The workshops yielded a wealth of information: from general comments about Antwerpen.be to very detailed structures for an optimised digital offering.
Parents and their children visit Antwerpen.be to get to know the offer, to register, to evaluate and to contact the city services.
Both users and stakeholders agreed that Antwerpen.be should show the full range and not just the range of activities organised by the city. E.g. for education, this means that you want an overview of government-provided education, subsidised public schools (by provinces and municipalities) and subsidised free schools…
A post-it exercise divided the global offer for parents and children in 7 main themes:
- Pregnancy & birth
- Health & wellbeing
The current touchpoints between parents and the city of Antwerp are often of an administrative and practical nature, such as the renewal of an identity card, the search for childcare or the opening times of the swimming pool… But, besides searching for specific things, parents also want to discover new things or activities.