Online Feedback Forms used on the Vienna City Administration’s E-Government Website
Vienna City Administration

The Problem

Online Feedback Forms used on the Vienna City Administration’s E-Government Website.
The promotion of e-government services has been a strategic priority within the Vienna City Administration for many years now and has also received the relevant political commitment. Due to its unique position as federal province, federal capital, city and municipality the range of tasks performed by Vienna is much wider than that of other administrative authorities in Austria. This fact is also reflected in the range of e-government services provided.
The Internet services offered by the Vienna City Administration at currently comprise some 130,000 webpages. According to statistics published by the independent Austrian web analysis agency (Österreichischen Webanalyse, ÖWA,, on average some 880,000 individuals visit these pages some 12 million times every month.
The e-government services at include more than 600 help pages that assist citizens in dealing with the authorities and inform users in a standardized format about administrative procedures and authorities, giving details of documents required, competences, deadlines, fees etc. These webpages describe processes and procedures, facilitate dealing with authorities and enable users to conduct transactions electronically. Such additional online procedures are made available on the Internet for more than 180 administrative processes and procedures and further around 80 forms. Every month some 200,000 citizens use the e-government services provided by the Vienna City Administration.
In order to fulfill its administrative goals the Vienna City Administration regularly checks whether the e-government applications can be used intuitively by all target groups, ensuring that online forms are designed in such a way that citizens and business users can fill them out without any special training.
Thus regular checks are performed to determine whether e-government services are actually being made available in the best possible form. The questions to be answered include:
* Is it easy to find the Vienna City Administration’s e-government info pages and services?
* Are online services and information given clearly structured, easily understandable and complete?
* What are the barriers to using these services, for instance: how often, where and when do users stop or quit when filling out an online form?
* Are there any barriers that might prevent or even exclude entire groups of citizens from using these services?
Personal contact with website users is a very useful approach to gain feedback on user behavior and user information requirements. Considering the wide range of e-government services provided by the Vienna City Administration this is, however, only possible to a limited extent.
Against this background, the Vienna City Administration initiated a project under which online feedback forms were added to the entire range of e-government services delivered. This comprehensive introduction of online feedback forms is an important element under the newly defined Ongoing Improvement Process (KVP, kontinuierlicher Verbesserungsprozess) aimed at the sustainable optimization of the e-government services delivered by the Vienna City Administration.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
A number of tools are used to measure customer satisfaction and the impact of improvements. The challenge consists in analyzing Vienna’s wide range of e-government services methodically and efficiently, identifying potential hurdles and/or need for action.
The approach consists in a combination of three components which - we believe - is unique in Austria:
A) Online feedback forms were added to complement all e-government services. The process was implemented using the Vienna City Administration’s Content Management System. The forms were added in one single step centrally and automatically to all existing webpages and will be automatically added to any new page.
The feedback forms consist of two parts. The first section includes statements that users are asked to assess, such as whether in their opinion the e-service was easy to find, is complete, well-structured and easily understandable. This automatically enables rankings for example with regard to what processes or help pages are particularly easy to find or poorly structured. The second section consists of text fields to be filled out by users. Experience has shown that these fields are used to address concrete problems, making them an important source for suggestions for improvement.
An important innovation exists in the fact that these feedback forms are provided for all e-government services rather than being made available for a select few.
B) Led by the Chief Executive Office, all competent technical departments contributed to defining the Ongoing Improvement Process:
--> E-government services are defined by some 80 technical departments, i.e. they describe the procedures and fill the e-services with content. The technical departments are required to quickly identify and analyze concrete content-related problems, potential hurdles and provide solutions in a timely manner.
--> The Quality Assurance Team performs ongoing analyses of all service data regarding general trends and problems. It defines the basic focus and implementation of e-services and includes representatives from all relevant departments. It supports and coordinates some 80 technical departments in preparing e-government services.
--> The QA Team refers strategic decisions to the Strategic E-Government Steering Committee that is responsible for taking basic policy decisions.
C) Evaluations of the individual processes provide technical departments with detailed data and the opportunity to analyze all processes from all angles.
Technical departments can retrieve the aggregated feedback form findings (overview and rough assessment of online services) and a detailed view of the individual feedback forms including all text entry fields from a special information portal.
Based on special evaluations, the QA Team identifies general problems and trends and takes the necessary decisions enabling provision of an attractive range of e-government services in a timely manner. These evaluations combine feedback form results and other findings generated from log data etc..
This enables the Vienna City Administration to gain unparalleled insights into user behavior, improve individual services and further develop its entire range of e-government services.
We are not aware of any other authority, including abroad, that has implemented both forms and findings in such a comprehensive manner.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
In no more than 500 words, specify who contributed to the design and/or implementation of the initiative, including relevant civil servants, public institutions, organizations, citizens, NGOs, private sector, etc.

Under the BLSG (federal government, federal provinces, cities, municipalities) Working Group on Presentation and Standards ( ), the cooperation partners joined forces with business and the nationwide "Plattform Digitales Österreich" ( to prepare an Austria-wide standard for the development of feedback forms in the e-government sector. The document is available at (in German).
This standard is the basis for implementation of the Vienna City Administration’s online feedback forms.
The Chief Executive Office commissioned the implementation of online feedback forms and of comprehensive statistics functions undertaken by Municipal Department 14 as internal service provider.
Led by the Chief Executive Office, the competent departments and offices defined the Ongoing Improvement Process (kontinuierlicher Verbesserungsprozesses, KVP).
The technical departments define the e-government services to be delivered, describing the processes and filling the e-services with content. Problems relating to individual e-government processes are analyzed and solved by the technical departments (for instance in response to the above-mentioned feedback comments.
The Vienna City Administration’s Quality Assurance Team is responsible for ongoing analyses of all e-government service data with respect to general trends and problems and advises the technical departments. This team is composed of representatives from technical departments that are relevant to the delivery e-government services.
The Quality Assurance Team refers strategic decisions to the Strategic E-Government Steering Committee that is responsible for taking basic policy decisions on approaches to be pursued by the City of Vienna and is composed of the heads (and/or their representatives) of the most relevant Municipal Departments and the Chief Executive Office.

(a) Strategies

 Describe how and when the initiative was implemented by answering these questions
 a.      What were the strategies used to implement the initiative? In no more than 500 words, provide a summary of the main objectives and strategies of the initiative, how they were established and by whom.
The Vienna City Administration’s strategy aims to provide users from all target groups with e-government services that are easy to find and well-structured and to offer easily understandable, user-friendly online forms giving clear information required to fill them out.
Using the “Vienna Approach” outlined below it is possible to achieve a new type of user involvement based on existing technologies and a cost-efficient approach. The steps taken include:
* development and full implementation of feedback questionnaires for the entire range of e-government services delivered by the Vienna City Administration
* a specified ongoing improvement process in which the City Administration’s technical departments are also actively involved
* comprehensive statistics adapted to the analysts’ needs
Customer satisfaction creates customer loyalty. Clients use the respective service again and, ideally, other services too. Satisfaction with the services provided may also motivate current clients to recommend such services to potential new clients – another goal pursued by the Vienna City Administration’s e-government strategy.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
* April 2010: Project launch (planning of further steps to be taken, clarification of goals and funding)
* May 2010 to August 2010: Pro-active contribution to and leading role in defining the nationwide Standardized Online Feedback Forms as a member of the Working Group on Presentation and Standards involving representatives of the federal government, the federal provinces, cities and municipalities (Bund-Länder-Städte-Gemeinden-Arbeitsgruppe “Präsentation und Standards“)
* June 2010: Review and reassessment of the costs of technical implementation based on the existing requirements for feedback forms.
* September 2010 to October 2010: Implementation of the technical solution taking account of the requirement that feedback forms are added automatically to all e-government service forms.
* October 2010: Integration of feedback forms in existing forms and inclusion of feedback forms in all process description pages is tested.
* November 2010: Launch of feedback forms at
* November 2010 to January 2011: Evaluation of feedback findings including, for instance, quantitative and qualitative aspects.
* February 2011: Definition of the Ongoing Improvement Process for the e-government range of services in close cooperation with the technical departments. Definition and commissioning of necessary actions and support required.
* March 2011: Information on the installation of the Ongoing Improvement Process is shared with all technical departments explaining that this application enables them to generate a wide range of evaluations of feedback findings for their e-government services.
* October 2011: Implementation of online feedback forms for English e-government services.
* March 2012 (planned): Evaluation of the Ongoing Improvement Process (lessons learned) and initiation of further actions and activities.

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
The success of the Ongoing Improvement Process depends on the attitude, the level of knowledge and the pro-active commitment of all of the around 80 technical departments contributing to the process. This technical staff analyses the information given in the online feedback forms and is responsible for initiating improvements. By making e-government a strategic priority, the Vienna City Administration has contributed to further raising awareness of the importance of these services. The importance of e-government services is also emphasized by legal framework conditions, including the transposition of the EU Services Directive into national law and the Austrian E-Government Act, which further promote awareness and relevant measures.
The following steps were taken to assist the technical departments in fulfilling their tasks:
* Clear and well-structures evaluations of the feedback forms are made available on an electronic intranet portal. The different parameters used enable both overview and detailed presentations of findings.
* A checklist to assist staff in quickly finding the appropriate contact or expert in the event of problems (like the Press and Information Services)
* Training events at the Vienna Public Administration Academy
The scope of tasks fulfilled by the Quality Assurance Team at the Vienna City Administration was also extended to include the preparation and analysis of central feedback form evaluations. This enables timely identification of global trends and quick initiation of measures.

(d) Use of Resources

 d.      What resources were used for the initiative and what were its key benefits? In no more than 500 words, specify what were the financial, technical and human resources’ costs associated with this initiative. Describe how resources were mobilized
A total of 250 working hours was invested in the technical implementation of feedback questionnaires and their integration into the entire range of e-government services provided by the Vienna City Administration. Technical staff responsible for e-government issues at the technical departments were also entrusted with analyzing the feedback questionnaires.
Many benefits of this approach became apparent during project implementation. The broad-based involvement of all users and target groups is a simple but very widely used easily accessible form of e-participation. It addresses the entire range of e-government services and focuses on an ongoing improvement process. The chosen approach enabled quick identification of highly diverse problems associated with the provisions of e-government services which would have required substantial efforts had other approaches or methods been used. The well-specified involvement of all responsible bodies under the Ongoing Improvement Process enabled quick identification of problems and local responses and changes.
This encourages increased use of e-government services which not only benefits citizens (handling procedures online saves time and money) and administration (fewer requests for clarification, telephone calls, letters, etc.) but also improves the quality of applications (fewer applications contain mistakes or are incompletely filled out).
These positive effects can be observed across the entire range of core services provided by any public administrative authority particularly with respect to the provision of information and the handling of administrative procedures. A tangible benefit for some 200,000 citizens who use e-government services every month. (Source: Austrian Web Analysis, Österreichische Webanalyse/ÖWA

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
The online feedback forms were implemented using the form server developed by the Vienna City Administration which is based on open source software.
The feedback forms’ architecture is designed to enable incorporation of feedback questionnaires into the entire range of the Vienna City Administration’s online services without additional efforts. This enables the automatic inclusion of this solution into all new online forms, services and procedural instruction pages published online by the Vienna City Administration. The new English procedural instruction pages, for instance, also include an English online feedback form on each page (see "Concession for the operation of a distribution network - application" at
The design of these feedback forms was developed and standardized for the whole of Austria by the “Bund-Länder-Städte-Gemeinden” initiative (composed of representatives from the federal government, federal provinces, cities and municipalities). The Vienna City Administration is the only partner to have comprehensively incorporated feedback forms and to have implemented the Ongoing Improvement Process.
Members of the Vienna City Administration also gave presentations on the comprehensive incorporation of feedback forms and the related findings to administrative institutions across Austria whose representatives were impressed by the quality of the findings generated as a result of the comprehensive implementation.
As far as we are currently aware, the Vienna City Administration is the only authority in Austria to have implemented feedback forms for all its e-government services on such a comprehensive scale. Likewise we are not aware of any other ongoing improvement process that is based on feedback form findings.
The architecture is so flexible that it enables other administrative authorities in Austria to implement the Vienna City Administration’s feedback solution without any or with only very little effort and independent of the particular online forms they use.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
A functioning range of e-government services is a prerequisite for a modern knowledge-based society. The target groups defined for the Internet platform services include all client groups, i.e. citizens, companies and all other users. The goal is to receive as many electronic applications as possible.
Awareness-raising, dealing with and solving usage-related problems are key to ensuring that these services are used by as many clients as possible. To this end, comprehensive use is made of feedback forms and ongoing improvement processes.
The feedback forms enable all target groups to generate important input for improving the range of e-government services. Experience has shown that user groups make good use of this facility. Irrespective of the target group, all users have equal and easy access when sharing their problems and requests with the Vienna City Administration. Under the Ongoing Improvement Process, feedback findings are evaluated both centrally by the QA Team and individually by the competent technical departments.
All stakeholders benefit from these ongoing improvements:
* Citizens save time and money: The feedback forms include questions relating to potential efficiency increases when filling out forms online. Responding to the question “How much time have you, in your view, saved by filling out the form online?”, 90% of all clients state that it has actually saved them time and 15% state that this amounts to more than 2 hours.
* The Vienna City Administration saves time and money: Increased use of online services enables further automated processing of the forms’ data in a backend system removing the need for time consuming, manual entry of data by technical staff. Technical staff have to deal with fewer standard inquiries (like what documents are required) and are able to process applications much faster. Improved online information also means fewer incomplete or incorrectly filled out forms and less time consumed in checking back with clients.
*Less red tape: The feedback findings, particularly the text fields provide valuable information and insights into what steps users consider particularly problematic and time-consuming when filling out online forms. The findings are immediately shared with the technical departments.
* Customer-oriented policies strengthen the City Administration’s image: The e-government services delivered contribute substantially to the image of any authority’s Internet presence. A key element is the ongoing, comprehensive customer satisfaction evaluation – with as little extra effort as possible.
* Strengthening Vienna’s position as a business location: A well-developed ICT infrastructure is key to attracting new companies. Comparative studies, like The World Economic Forum's Networked Readiness Index (NRI) show that the degree of ICT infrastructure maturity, the availability and user-friendliness of online e-government services play a pivotal role. The ongoing improvement process based on feedback forms, as implemented by the Vienna City Administration, enables maintaining high online service standards which are a prerequisite for achieving good scores in international benchmark studies.
Every year some 1,500 individuals complete the feedback forms described above. Every month some 200,000 users of the Vienna City Administration’s e-government services benefit from the results.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Vienna City Administration
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Thomas Skerlan-Schuhböck
Title:   Expert  
Telephone/ Fax:   +43 1 4000 75016 / +43 1 40009975016
Institution's / Project's Website:
Address:   Rathausstraße 8
Postal Code:   1010
City:   Vienna
Country:   Austria

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