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My renewed appreciation for citizen-first design

Post by Jennifer Curtis on February 23th, 2016

I have a newborn and a full-time job. So really, two full-time jobs. I've been back at work for one month and already I’ve had to take time off for a pediatrician check-up, plus two unscheduled sick baby visits. I now feel that everything takes two-times longer to do and I have half of the time to do it.

I’ve always appreciated my smartphone, but now I’d say I’m dependent on it for survival. I quickly learned when baby falls asleep on you, you don't move. So pulling out a laptop isn’t exactly realistic. That means I’m using my phone a LOT more. In fact, my bank called me concerned about “suspicious activity” because I was ordering everything I needed from my phone (thank you Amazon and Baby Merlin's Magic Sleepsuit!)

Whatever I need to get done, I find a way to get it done on my phone. Fortunately, so many apps exist to make my life easier, I can easily pay the bulk of our bills with a few taps and swipes. But there's still a big gap when it comes to doing business with the government.

This is where my work and life intersect. As PayIt’s product and user experience manager, and now mom, I’m twice as interested in making sure our citizen-first design approach clearly matches government services to citizen expectations. I need to make it easier for us working moms to hold a kid on one hip and get our driver’s licenses renewed in just minutes, and make paying a traffic citation as simple and fast as checking the bank account balance.

On the job, citizen-first is a way of thinking and developing the product. It means an iterative design process that incorporates ongoing user testing and feedback. It provides our team with validation—and critical insight—that pushes continuous improvement in how we and our partner government agencies deliver the simplest, most relevant data-driven experience for all.

As a constituent (and a mom), citizen-first means renewing my car tags is as easy as buying diapers. Paper forms and waiting lines are replaced with just a few taps of my smartphone. 

That said, citizen-first design doesn’t mean government-last. It holds tremendous long-term value for our agencies, too. We’ll talk more about that next time. Tune in!

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