How to Involve Users in Government System Procurement?

Attractive, valuable, and cost-efficient e-government systems with user-centred design

Workshop #7 in NordiCHI 2014 on 26-Oct-2014.

DOI: 10.1145/2639189.2654832

Government organizations widely suffer from poor usability. Studies show that, for example, doctors find the healthcare systems difficult to use. Users report that making a single travel expense report may take three hours, and requires contacting user support every time.

Usability in government system acquisition has not been a big topic in HCI research. Some earlier research indicates that the strictly legally regulated procurement process set specific requirements on how user aspects can effectively be incorporated in the acquisition process. And that effective user involvement is all but simple. There are many examples on how usability is included, and is even emphasized in the procurement process, but still the result is a failure (a system with poor usability).

Our examples include a case, where an HCI team of a big software company developed a highly usable system for the internal use of the company. But, at the same time, the same company ended up delivering poorly usable systems to their government customers. These types of examples indicate real challenges and difficulties in effectively incorporating usability in the public procurement process.

We find this a pioneering workshop, the first one on this specific topic in any HCI conference, as far as we know. Therefore, we do not set very strict limitations on the scope of the workshop position papers. We wish to attract participants to discuss how usability has been or can be incorporated in the government system acquisition and procurement process. Topics may include but are not limited to e.g. following themes: What are the best practices to take usability and user experience into account in system requirements or process description? Are there any examples on how user value and business benefits are associated with usability? How do laws and regulations on public procurement affect the inclusion of users in the acquisition process?

We welcome well-stated positions and opinions on the topic from researchers and practitioners who have experience and knowledge on how to effectively incorporate usability in system acquisition. Both researchers and practitioners are welcome to participate in the workshop. The topic fundamentally arises from the real-life practices and the problems are complex and wicked. Solving them requires systematic and collaborative work with all participating stakeholders. The workshop aims at gathering these actors together for the development of improved processes, methods, and practices for public system procurement.