Proceedings of HCI 2007 The 21st British HCI Group Annual Conference University of Lancaster, UK (HCI)
British HCI Group Annual Conference
3 - 7 September 2007
This paper explores the relations between public policy and usability in lived experience, drawing on 3 case studies in one important area of urban policy, transport. For these studies, discourse from interviews and focus groups with a total of 120 participants, and a written corpus of over 80 documents, were collected and analyzed, together with interviews with 25 key staff and observations of user interactions both in the laboratory and in situ. The resulting rich dataset presents a new perspective on e-government systems in use. The results show that usability must be prioritised at the policy design stage; it cannot be left to implementation. Failure to do so is experienced by users in systems which fail to work together to meet their needs. Negative experiences, in turn, may lead to loss of trust and legitimacy, and detract from public value and community well-being. These findings, therefore, provide lessons from HCI insights for both public policy-makers and implementers of e-government systems. The paper concludes by suggesting some HCI methods for pre-venting usability problems in e-government systems, by involving users in design in order to understand their lived experiences around the ecology of the systems.