Emirates ID Web-Portal Transformation
Emirates ID Authority

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Over the past two decades, the UAE has experienced exponential population growth from 1.8 million residents in 1990 to nearly 9 million in 2013. In response the UAE introduced the mandatory Emirates ID program; an award-winning initiative to keep track of the increasing number of nationals and migrants in the UAE, whilst also delivering a trusted backbone for providing citizens and businesses with secure and convenient online public services. Today the ID authority has reached its target goal of enrolling 100% of the population in the National ID scheme. However, back in 2005 at the start of the program, the implementation Team faced a tough challenge engaging all UAE residents and providing them with relevant information about ID Card benefits, and the application process at Registration Centers. In an effort to be transparent and to generate trust in the new ID process, the ID authority launched a public web-portal as a central information resource for citizens. But although the portal was published with the best of intentions, like many public sector websites of the day, the portal suffered from a set of common problems. STATIC CONTENT Information was published in a top down approach, in a style now termed Web 1.0. Visitors to the portal could only view web pages in the manner of a printed brochure. Content didn’t change regularly so there was never any reason for a citizen to return to the site later to engage further with the ID program. Pages could only be viewed on a computer, which led to frustration with young people who mainly accessed the internet through their smart phones. LACK OF INTERACTIVITY Citizens could only read content on the portal; there was no way for them to engage directly with the ID Authority, proactively discover information about the enrolment process or to submit their feedback. Citizens were frustrated that they could not find relevant information based on their needs. For example, the elderly or those with mobility difficulties would have benefited from knowing the closest location of a Registration Center. Lower income blue collar workers would have liked to book appointments online so they didn’t need to miss a day’s work queuing at Registration Centers. Migrants could have been better informed by being able to access content in their native language. CLOSED SYSTEM A lack of organisational openness was conveyed through the portal by the absence of information about the ID Programs progress and performance. This omission meant that citizens and businesses did not understand the progressive culture of the ID Authority and therefore had no basis upon which to build their own trust in the scheme. The impact of the portal was disappointing for a country where 78% of residents have regular internet access. In the first four years of operation, only 1.2 million residents (15% of the population) took part in the ID scheme. Low registration rates highlighted the need for an open, informative and interactive portal that brought the complete Emirates ID experience into the homes of all Emiratis.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
The low levels of registration in 2008 prompted the launch of the Emirates Identity Authority (Emirates ID) transformation program to deliver – as part of the organisations 2010-2013 Strategy - excellent customer experience through all aspects of the ID program. As a central communications tool, the redesign of the webportal was high priority. Emirates ID wanted the portal to bring to life the full benefits of the ID scheme, to make citizens and businesses excited about participating, and eager to register. Redesign focused on taking user feedback to create a vibrant, accessible version of Emirates ID organisation in the virtual space. In conjunction with a global shift to new ICT trends, the redesign focussed on addressing the limitations of the original portal through a focus on new Web 2.0 objectives: (1) Dynamic Service Delivery, (2) Interactive eParticipation, and (3) Open Development: (1) DYNAMIC SERVICE DELIVERY RELEVANT INFORMATION: All the information a citizen needs for a hassle-free registration process is laid out in an intuitive way making it easier for the elderly and those with special needs to access relevant content. Content is provided in both English and Arabic, with key service messages available in minority group languages – such as Urdu, Bangla and Hindi - to help low-income migrant workers who speak little English. ONLINE SERVICES: Services that were traditionally only provided at in-person are now available online. Busy workers can plan their visit to a Registration Center with ease by (a) using an e-booking service to choose convenient appointment times, and (b) filling the application in advance using an eForm. The eForm saves Emirates ID AED 3.6 Million ($1 Million) per year by reducing paper use and AED 4.5 Million ($1.2 million) in reduced staff cost. In addition to a customer cost saving of AED 30 ($8) from reduced application fees. ONLINE TRACKING: Customers are saved the stress of making regular calls or visits to Centers as information about the status of their application is now available online and through and SMS alerts. Over 12 million text messages were sent in 2012. (2) INTERACTIVE EPARTICIPATION SOCIAL MEDIA – Portal engaged over 6.2 million citizens in 2012 through social media. Tech-savvy young people can instantly chat with staff, including the Director General, and get a personal response within 20 minutes. Satisfaction with social media rose from 58% in 2011 to 85% in 2012 MOBILE OPTIMISATION - The portal was designed to be accessed across a range of mobile platforms, a critical step in UAE where people access the internet more on smartphones than conventional computers. INTERACTIVE CONTENT – All portal pages give users a vibrant, interactive experience with simple, unobtrusive feedback tools and surveys. Surveys enable users to interact directly with Emirates ID staff to suggest improvements and resolve challenges in real-time, leading to increase trust in the services (3) OPEN DEVELOPMENT OPEN DATA – Trust in the ID strategy by citizens is now fostered by publishing Emirates ID’s progress and statistics in a free, transparent and open format on the portal. INTEROPERABILITY – ID technology is freely available as a Service Developer Toolkit (SDK) that allows businesses to build Emirates ID functionality directly into their own solutions. KNOWLEDGE CENTRE – Center allows world-class academics and citizens alike to access all research and presentations carried out by Emirates ID and promote best practices around the world. The move from top-down to bottom-up service delivery was genius. Putting customers’ at the heart of all online processes transformed the portal from a dry read-only site, to a fully interactive virtual reflection of the innovative and ambitious ID Authority itself. A portal that attracts over 9 million visitors a year.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
The Emirates ID web-portal was redesigned to create a complete online service organisation accessible anytime, anywhere. Among many new services, the following represent the most innovative: SOCIAL MEDIA HELPDESK – Emirates ID was among the first public service platforms to pioneer youth-oriented customer contact through social media with all organizational levels including the Director General available for contact. The social media system provides a visible, accountable and ultimately responsive presence for Emirates ID and has been particularly effective both in engaging younger Emiratis and fostering national pride. KNOWLEDGE CENTRE – Emirates ID’s portal represents a flagship example of transparency and openness, with strategy information, usage statistics and a full range of publications and reports from the organization’s intensive R&D programme freely available online. ONLINE e-FORM - Emirates ID’s eForm is a model for scalable, accurate and paper-free government forms. In addition to providing users the option to complete their form at home, the eForm created paperless centres that allow massive environmental and financial savings. UAE ID CARD SDK AND TOOLKIT - The UAE Software Development Kit (SDK) allows government departments and businesses to build ID functionality directly into their services. SDK promotes pioneering partnerships between the government, private enterprise and civil society.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The transformation of the ID web-portal was implemented according to Emirate ID’s strategic objective: “To ensure that all central administrative services are of high quality, are efficient, transparent and timely”. Implementation was conducted in 7 phases: PLANNING – 2009 Development of the 2010-2013 strategic plan started with a consultation of all the key stakeholders both internal and external. The strategy was developed to conform to the broad range of national priorities including the Federal Government Vision 2021 to ensure all development work on the webportal furthered the objectives of the country’s leadership. A robust benchmarking process was instituted against a 6 global leaders in eGovernment services to ensure best practice throughout. The webportal was contextualised within the wider plan for the Emirates ID registration process to ensure perfect synchronisation between the online and offline aspects of the strategy. STAKEHOLDER BUY-IN – 2009 The strategy was presented to all stakeholders to elicit further input and ensure full transparency of the ID Authorities plans. The capturing of user requirements at this stage helped guarantee that the portal would reflect the needs of all its visitors and be fit for purpose. REDESIGN AND DEPLOYMENT – 2009 The technical plan was delivered in complete alignment with the corporate strategy of making customer services available online through the portal. Once design work was completed, the portal underwent rigorous technical testing and bug-checking. Finally, usability testing by a cross-section of portal users verified all aspects of the beta version were fit for purpose. ITERATIVE IMPROVEMENT – 2010 Throughout deployment, Emirates ID conducted regular listening and evaluation cycles to ensure customer feedback was utilised to improve the user experience in an agile manner. Using the principle that it is better to do something right first time, every element of the web-portal was iteratively improved based on the free exchange of feedback with citizens. SOCIAL MEDIA INTEGRATION – 2011 A dedicated social media strategy was implemented with a governance strategy to help manage traffic via the various channels. The strategy was designed to enhance Emirates ID’s presence as a living virtual organisation through 2-way interaction with citizens and business. Particular emphasis was placed on engaging younger Emiratis who regularly used social media. The result was continuous improvement to the content of Emirates ID social pages, reflected in increased satisfaction levels from 58% in 2011 to over 85% in 2012. EVALUATION AND REPORTING – 2012 Each year, officials compile and present a detailed report of their activities. Reports are widely publicised to all stakeholder communities and openly published on the portal. The process of yearly reporting focussed the implementation team on analysing each aspect of the web-portal and social media channels, from the financial savings to the reduction in environmental impacts, and compiling a wealth of data resources that can be used to monitor progress and update performance targets developed in the 2010-2013 plan. By 2012, Emirates ID had achieved 90% of all strategic targets. LESSONS LEARNED – 2013 A comprehensive evaluation was carried out to conclude / augment the 2010-2013 strategy and ensure that all outstanding KPIs, projects and objectives had been fully implemented. The increased traffic to the web-portal and improved customer satisfaction rates from social media channels have led to an ambitious expansion of their place within the UAE ID strategy plan 2014-2019

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
Following a detailed stakeholder mapping process, a broad cross-section of different groups was involved in the planning and implementation phases of the Emirates ID portal: (1) GOVERNMENT – Internal government stakeholders ensured full conformity with existing initiatives and priorities as well as sharing knowledge: *Emirates eGovernment Authorities *Emirates Competitiveness Council *Abu Dhabi Systems and Information Centre *Ministry of the Interior *Ministry of Health *Ministry of Finance *Ministry of Social Affairs and Higher Education (2) CUSTOMERS – Prospective users of the web-portal provided real-world testing to improve user-friendliness: *UAE Nationals *Recent Immigrants and Residents *Gulf Cooperation Council Nationals (3) PRIVATE SECTOR SERVICE PROVIDERS – Private sector institutions ensured that the portal and SDK were business-friendly: *Banks *Telecommunications Operators *Selected Private Businesses *Application Typing Service Centres (4) INDUSTRY EXPERTS – Industry Experts were closely involved in the design and deployment of the eForm, SDK and tracking service to ensure best practices: *ID Management and Biometric Technology Providers *eGovernment and Online Participation Specialists *Usability and Web Design Experts *Technology and Service Development Professionals (5) COMMUNITY – Community groups ensured grassroots support from communities: *Environmental Groups *Youth Groups *Local Community Leadership *Expat Organizations *Disability Lobbies (6) PARTNERS AND SERVICE PROVIDERS –Service Providers were brought in to provide outside expertise and perspective on the planning, design, development and execution: *ID Management Specialists *Technology and Web Design Companies *Management and Operational Consultants
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The following resources were dedicated from the Emirates ID talent pool to the mobilisation of the project: HUMAN RESOURCES Within Emirates ID, three full-time personnel were deployed to focus on the redevelopment of the web-portal and social media communication channels. The internal personnel were supported and complimented by five external staff from two different contractors, including technical developers, usability testing and quality assurance. TECHNICAL EXPERTISE To facilitate the development of the web-portal and communication channels, a range of specialist expert roles were deployed: (1) BUSINESS PROCESS SPECIALISTS – were used to ensure that every operation element of the web-portal was contextualised within the wider business process reengineering being conducted throughout Emirates ID. (2) SERVICE ANALYSTS –were employed to conduct a rigorous benchmarking exercise for each aspect of the transformed web-portal against state-of-the-art examples from across the public and private sector. Service Analysts made recommendations on the design and deployment of each service component. (3) SYSTEM ANALYSTS – System analysts were deployed to ensure that the redesigned portal was fully integrated into the ID process and that all relevant pressure points within the wider system were assessed and mitigated within the portal deployment. (4) SOCIAL MEDIA SPECIALISTS – Social Media Specialists were employed to ensure the redesigned communication strategy reflected the latest trends and thinking among younger demographics. FINANCIAL RESOURCES The redesign of the web-portal was funded with an initial budget of AED1 Million ($272,000) inclusive of personnel costs, technical costs and other expenses. At the completion of the project, the final cost estimate using the contingency budget was AED1.5 Million ($408,000) inclusive of all scope creep and additional development needs. Budget was generated from the Emirates ID internal funds. Specifically for the web-portal, all funds were drawn from external revenue streams including fees from ID cards.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
Many components contributed to the success of the Emirates ID portal. However, the following 4 outputs were integral to the initiatives success: SOCIAL MEDIA INTEGRATION By expanding the online presence into social media channels Emirates ID tapped into a cost effective way of engaging citizens and establishing dialogues. The outcomes of which provided a wealth of useful citizen feedback that was fed into the continuous improvement process for the portal and the ID Strategy as a whole. As well as increasing customer satisfaction from 58% to 85% within one year, the direct involvement of senior figures in answering queries via social media engaged unprecedented numbers of young people, evidenced by the 5,200 comments and posts received within the first 7 months of the interactive social media presence. ONLINE TRANSACTIONS Online transactions made ID registration a more easy experience for customers. Making the registration application available as an eForm helped processes go near paperless, creating environmental benefits and cost savings of over AED 3.6 Million ($1 Million) per year. In addition, the eForm allowed users to significantly speed up their application process by allowing them to complete the form in the comfort of their own homes, reducing the need to visit a specialised center to have the application professionally typed. The removal of a customer process step saved citizens typing costs of 30 AED ($8). PUBLIC-PRIVATE INNOVATION The UAE ID Software Development Toolkit (SDK) has fostered close partnerships with a wide range of government entities and private sector institutions. By involving private enterprise in the development process, Emirates ID not only promotes partnership between the public and private sectors but ensures the sustainability of the ID system through facilitating easy integration into current business processes. Today 70% of all UAE government departments have successfully integrated ID card functionality into their services using the SDK. KNOWLEDGE SHARING The Knowledge Transfer centre provides a best practice example of how to open and share knowledge in a manner that promotes transparency and accountability and builds trust. The publication of Emirates ID’s progress against performance targets, using a simple easy to understand traffic light system enables any citizen, regardless of project management skills to understand how well the ID Authority is functioning. In addition, the open publication of more than 75 research documents and studies by Emirates ID has been held up as a model, by the UN, for other countries to emulate.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
ENGAGEMENT AND PARTICIPATION METRICS Emirates ID implemented a robust system of e-participation indicators to regularly measure the performance of communication channels including the portal and social media. The excellence of this monitoring system was recognized in 2013 with the presentation of the Gold Award for Social Media Measurement from the International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication, and the Best Criterion for Measuring the Performance of Social Pages Award from the Society of New Communications Research. Key 2012 results include: *Key messages about Emirates ID reached 6.2 million social media users, mainly young people *93% increase in visitors to the webportal *150,000 users for self-service eForm *Increase of 24,000 followers across communication channels *85% satisfaction with social media channels in 2012, up from 58% in 2011 *12,000,000 SMS tracking messages *326 private companies helped to spread Emirates ID messages *Average time taken to officially respond to a social media comment – 20 minutes CUSTOMER SERVICE AND QUALITY ACCREDITATION Emirates ID has undertaken a full suite of compliance measures to ensure that the services made available via the web-portal are at the highest levels of compliance with the relevant international standards both for data security and customer service. Recently, Emirates ID was certified for the International Customer Service standard by the British Standards Institution that certifies Emirates ID’s excellence in international customer service. In addition, Emirates ID has successfully retained International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001 Certification for Quality Management System, ISO 20000 certification for ICT quality and ISO 27001 for strict adherence to the global quality management standards. KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATOR SYSTEM The Emirates ID portal was designed in accordance with the system of robust performance indicators laid out in the 2010-2013 strategy to govern all Emirates ID projects. The indicators were closely monitored and the results published on the Emirates ID portal, providing a transparent visual evaluation approach that used a ‘traffic light system’ to show viewers at a glance the progress made towards achieving the indicator target. To date, 90% of strategic indicators were meeting or exceeding targets while 76% of operational indicators were at or above expected levels. PROJECT MANAGEMENT METHODOLOGY Emirates ID implements a rigorous Project Management Methodology (PMM) - PROMOTE (Program Management of Technology Endeavours) to ensure that (1) IT Projects are completely aligned with Business Objectives, (2) cost and schedule targets are achieved and (3) performance is effectively managed and monitored.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
(1) REGAINING CITIZEN TRUST CHALLENGE – Citizens were disappointed by the lack of interesting content and interactivity in the original web-portal and were not coming back to the site after an initial visit. Emirates ID needed to convince these disengaged citizens that the portal had changed and was worth another look. SOLUTION – A viral communications campaign positioned the new web-portal as an interactive vibrant resource that would save citizens time and money in managing their ID process. 12 communication options – from Live Chat apps, to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube - were provided to make it easier for citizens to engage with portal content using their channel of choice. Monthly cultural competitions with hi-tech prizes were launched on the portal as an incentive for users to revisit the online Emirates ID organisation regularly. OUTCOME – The new interactive portal generated excitement in the UAE, attracting over 9 million visitors in the first couple of years. The visitor base is expanding annually by 19%, with the result that Emirates ID met its 100% registration target just two years after launch. (2) STIMULATING PRIVATE SECTOR INVOLVEMENT CHALLENGE – The original portal did not provide relevant information/data/tools that would enable the private sector to leverage benefits from use of the National ID infrastructure. Organisations didn’t understand how they could use the infrastructure to stimulate economic growth. SOLUTION – Deploying an innovative SDK TOOLKIT on the portal gave organisations a zero-cost opportunity to experiment with integrating ID technology in their service offerings to improve business processes and improve customer experience. The initiative is currently being enhanced by the distribution of 500,000 ID card readers to government departments and private enterprises to help them work together to roll out new service innovations. OUTCOME – New public-private partnerships delivering secure e-government services using seamless federated identity authentication and management services.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
In 2012, access to a fully interactive virtual organization, offering all the benefits of Emirates ID services, anytime, anywhere, stimulated a visitor growth rate of over 93%. Key benefits include: FULLY REGISTERED POPULATION The far-reaching impact of the Emirates ID web-portal is demonstrated through a full suite of statistics, performance indicators and metrics, for example, portal usage increased in 2013 by 18.8% with a 2.5% fall in aggregate bounce rate. Further significant shifts in user behaviour support wider acceptance of the web-portal system. However, the most convincing impact of all has been in the enrolment rate for the ID programme itself. Between 2009 at the launch of the redesigned portal and 2013, the web-portal and social media channels have made a major contribution to a rise in the percentage of population registered - from 15% to 99%. A 99% level of uptake for any service is a significant achievement on a global scale and has had a profound impact across all UAE services. PROTECTION OF VULNERABLE GROUPS The population surge in the UAE included a large number of migrant low-income workers taking up roles as housekeepers, maids, cleaners, gardeners, and drivers etc. Unlike bi-lingual natives and white collar professionals many have poor knowledge of Arabic and English, making them vulnerable to exploitation in the work place, forcing many to live illegally. The portal directly benefits this group by putting key messages about rights, duties and services online in multiple languages – Urdu (Pakistan and Afghanistan), Bangla (Bangladesh, Tagalog), Hindi (India). Facilitating their inclusion in the National ID program raises their visibility in the Emirates and helps to protect them from misuse and manipulation. INCREASE IN CUSTOMER SATISFACTION Access to clear structured information and online services through a mobile-optimised site have significantly simplified the ID application process. Young people can access services through the smart device of their choice. The elderly and those with special needs can access direct one-on-one help through live chat services. Low income workers can submit their applications online, book registration appointments and track application status, without missing too many paid hours of work. Online metrics have been supported by a robust programme of opinion monitoring and customer satisfaction surveys closely linked to service indicators. In the latest survey of customer satisfaction, over 84% rated the web-portal redesign good or excellent. The focus on customer service excellence for the portal gained significant recognition both within and beyond the UAE recognised by winning the International Customer Service Standard 2012, and the International Diamond Prize for Customer Satisfaction. EXTENDED CUSTOMER REACH Emirates ID no longer have to wait for citizens and businesses to find them. They can now, through 12 different channels, proactively engage the customer directly. The expansion into the world of social media has generated significant impact with 85% satisfaction for Emirates ID engagement across the full range of media channels evidenced by figures in the 2012 Annual Report. The excellence of the social media approach was recognized in 2012 with the presentation of the Gold Award for Social Media Measurement by the International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication. INCREASED KNOELEDGE SHARING, INNOVATION & ECONOMIC GROWTH A further benefit of the new portal has been the seamless engagement with foreign businesses through the service developer toolkit. The ability to integrate Emirates ID web services into the portals and web presences of private enterprises has made the process of coming to the UAE to live and work significantly more attractive and simple while promoting closer partnerships between public and private sector, eliminating red tape and streamlining the efficiency of foreign applications. Emirates ID has also passed on a lasting innovation in public service delivery through their pioneering Knowledge Transfer Centre on the portal. The portal was recognized in 2011 with first-place in the ‘Website Shield’, a competition among over 600 Arab governmental portals. The centre has been praised regularly by universities as well as praised by a number of global experts. In the past year, visits to the Centre pages have risen by 47.48%, underpinned by an 81% satisfaction rating in online polls.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY A key requirement of the forthcoming 2014-2019 Strategy is the transition of Emirates ID from a partially government-funded body whose revenue is supplemented by ID card fees to a self-funding institution. Emirates ID is already a net contributor to UAE resources, with ID card fees exceeding costs across the organization and by 2014, the authority will be self-sustaining with a separate budget. The web-portal is perfectly positioned to help Emirates ID achieve significant cost savings. In addition to the savings delivered through the reduction of paper use because of the eForm (potentially as much as AED 30 million/ $9 million), further expansion of the online service offering will leave both the portal and Emirates ID system on a sustainable financial foundation. ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILTITY The integration of the eForm into all the registration process allowed Emirates ID to drastically reduce the environmental impact of the application process by ensuring ‘paperless’ registration centers. Environmental sustainability was further safeguarded through the 40% of applicants in 2012 that chose to complete eForm from home, saving up to 600,000 car journeys. OPERATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY One of the 5 key pillars of the 2014-2019 strategy is to ‘Enhance Emirates ID’s role as the primary authenticator in the UAE’. Integrated within this priority is a strong focus on the Emirates ID portal as a focal point for public sector and private businesses to make their services available to the public. The growing popularity of the SDK, together with a focus on exposing services, will ensure that the portal remains a key project for Emirates ID in all future plans. ORGANIZATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY In 2012, Emirates ID built the first organizational learning centre in the UAE. The centre is dedicated to the organizational learning culture, concept and practices of the UAE, focusing on examples of excellence. Web-portal staffs are trained in this framework of organizational excellence to embed a sustainable culture. CULTURAL SUSTAINABILITY The social media approach championed by Emirates ID has engaged more Emiratis than ever before in promoting the ID programme. By holding a monthly ‘Cultural Competition’ with aspirational prizes on the portal, Emirates ID both ensures that young people are invested in learning more about the UAE and that the portal preserves the unique UAE culture in all aspects. KNOWLEDGE SHARING Emirates ID intensified its efforts aiming at supporting the knowledge society locally and internationally, by openly publishing all scientific and practical research and studies on the web-portal. Emirates ID’s research has centred on excellence in the management of customer relationships together with issues such as population growth, emerging markets, digital economy and roles of digital certificates in modern government and data ownership systems. The drive of Emirates ID to open knowledge (publishing 12 full-scale scientific studies in 2012 alone), combined with a concerted programme of attendance at various international conferences – including Director General Dr Al-Khouri’s nomination by the World Economic Forum to participate in Global Agenda Councils - has ensured that the UAE has become a model for promoting open knowledge and strategic planning.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
The Emirates ID web-portal offers a number of clear lessons for the future of online public service provision. The following are the key takeaways from the experience of Emirates ID in establishing the web-portal and associated social media presences: DO IT RIGHT BEFORE YOU DO IT BIG A fundamental lesson from the implementation of the Emirates ID web-portal is the need to make sure you get something right before trying to be too ambitious. Throughout the project, the team focussed on implementing change incrementally and fully user-testing all elements. Only once a service had secured user satisfaction was expansion or additional functionality considered. All online services and integrated social media communication channels underwent a number of step changes which measured success, quantified value and ensured that each new step was taken from a solid, accepted foundation. Incremental change builds public trust in the web presence and ensures that any experimental failures are not mission-critical so a culture of experimentation can be fostered. PUT CUSTOMER SERVICE EXCELLENCE AT THE HEART A critical catalyst for the redesign of the Emirates ID web-portal was the high level of user complaints linked to the design of the site. When undertaking the redesign in 2009, the team found that it was essential to begin with the user journey through the portal. Only by thinking, step-by-step, of how a user travels through the site, the type of information they require at each step and how they would choose to provide feedback for continuous improvement can an online presence be designed in a way which meets the needs of a diverse citizenry. TRANSPARENCY IS BEST Public services online should always endeavour to provide all available data about their operations openly and simply at source. The Emirates ID service has found the provision of open data via the portal to be not only an effective way to widen access and understanding among the citizenry but to encourage academic and policy communities to take strong notice of the pioneering work the portal has achieved in their studies and work. KEEP UP WITH TRENDS One of the key trends for customers interacting with and providing feedback to organisations is social media. Users now expect that governments will provide the option of expressing feedback without having to make lengthy phone calls of face-to-face visits. In addition to the customer service elements, social media integration also affords government a valuable opportunity to rapidly and cost effectively harvest and respond to citizen feedback. ACCESSIBILITY IS KEY It is critical to design online public service presence with a full suite of accessibility features from contrast alterations to text zoom. When engaging all segments of society, as a publicly mandated service must, it is fundamental to ensuring uniform access to present information in a wide range of accessible formats and media.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Emirates ID Authority
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Ayesha Al Rayesi
Title:   Executive Director of Central Operations Sector  
Telephone/ Fax:   +97124955555
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   ayesha.alrayesi@emiratesid.ae  
Address:   Head Office, Mayzad Mall Tower 3, 7 Floor
Postal Code:   PO Box 47999
City:   Mohamed Bin Zayed City
State/Province:   Abu Dhabi

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