April 19, 2023
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Empowering vulnerable communities: personalisation, AI and user-centred design in government services
The focus on personalisation, artificial intelligence tools, and user-centred design (UCD) is likely to increase in the coming years as public services continue their efforts to improve delivery and efficiency. Innovative approaches in this area could significantly improve the effectiveness of government services, particularly for communities that have previously been underserved. A recent survey by McKinsey of US government service users found a significant discrepancy between the satisfaction of higher income groups than lower incomes with regard to customer experience. In this blog, I’ll explore how a combination of personalisation, AI, and UCD can help to empower these communities by providing tailored, accessible, and inclusive services.
Inclusive Personalisation: A Pathway to Equality
For vulnerable communities, such as low-income families, people with disabilities, and marginalised groups, accessing government services can often be a challenge – there is a genuine digital divide. By leveraging personalisation, public services can ensure that their services are tailored and adapted to meet the unique needs of these groups, and measure the improvement on an ongoing basis.
AI-driven systems can analyse data from multiple sources, such as demographics, socio-economic status, and user preferences, to deliver customised content and recommendations. This enables governments to offer targeted services, benefits, and support to vulnerable groups in a more proactive way, ensuring that they receive the help they need when they need it.
Accessible Information: Breaking Down Barriers
One of the key aspects of user-centred design is ensuring that information and services are accessible to all users, regardless of their abilities or circumstances. By incorporating AI and UCD principles, accessible platforms that cater to the diverse needs of vulnerable communities can be delivered and managed, including an appreciation of the method of delivery. Mobile devices are becoming by far the most prevalent entry point to online services and government services must reflect that.
Additionally, AI-powered speech recognition and natural language processing can enable voice-activated navigation and provide real-time translations for users with language barriers. Assistive technologies are important for improving accessibility for individuals with disabilities, such as screen readers for the visually impaired or predictive text input for those with physical impairments, and AI technology is improving those tools at pace.
Data-Driven Insights: Targeting Support and Resources
Advances in AI and data analytics can help public services identify patterns, trends, and potential issues within the communities they serve. For example, analytical tools can be used to identify and predict areas suffering high levels of poverty, unemployment, or poor health outcomes, enabling government to develop targeted interventions and support programs. This data-driven approach will help to ensure that resources are allocated where they are needed most, ultimately improving the overall efficiency and effectiveness of government services.
Community-Centric Design: Co-Creation and Collaboration
User-centred design encourages collaboration and co-creation with end-users, including vulnerable communities. It’s essential to gain a deeper understanding of their needs, preferences, and expectations if government is to ensure that services are truly tailored to meet their requirements.
Through workshops, focus groups, and other interactions with the people that use their services, public services can gather valuable feedback from communities and use this information to refine and improve their services. This community-centric approach not only enhances the relevance and effectiveness of government services but also fosters a sense of ownership and empowerment among the communities they serve.
To summarise, the integration of personalisation, AI, and user-centred design in government services holds immense potential for improving the lives of vulnerable communities. By focusing on tailored, accessible, and inclusive services, governments can empower these individuals, promote social inclusion, and ensure that no one is left behind.