LifeSG gets a makeover with design and service upgrades!
New look, greater access to services!
If you live in Singapore, chances are that you’ve used the LifeSG app for government services from time to time.
Afterall, the app provides frictionless and simplified access to digital government services – whether it’s for something as momentous as registering your child’s birth or as ordinary as reporting a neighbourhood concern.
To ensure that LifeSG continues to journey with Singaporeans through key moments in life and daily living, the app recently went through a refresh. We find out more about the revamp and also speak to the UX team behind LifeSG to gain insights into the work that went into the overhaul.
So what’s new with LifeSG?
LifeSG provides access to a comprehensive list of 400 government services. For a more intuitive user experience, these services are now categorised broadly into;
- those for key moments (registering a child’s birth, conducting legacy planning)
- and those for daily life (booking virtual appointments with government agencies, reporting neighbourhood issues)
A section featuring recent/popular services has also been added to the home screen so that users can easily reach services that are frequently used.
Apart from the LifeSG app, users can now also find their desired government service by using the web search tool to look for information and services across the top 100 government websites. This greatly enhances LifeSG’s goal of simplifying access to services and making them easier to find.
All of this is done to bundle multiple transactions into a single seamless experience. For instance, the birth registration feature enables more than just registering a child’s birth, but also applying for baby bonus grants and a library membership. Relevant content from different agency sources are also carefully curated into guides to serve as support for key services.
“You can think of LifeSG as a toolbox with sets of multitools instead of single-function tools,” the UX team said.
Testing the usability of LifeSG
Two rounds of user testing were conducted with diverse slates of Singaporeans and permanent residents across age groups, marital statuses, racial groups, and employment statuses. The participants tried performing various tasks that involved accessing government services through the app.
The tests were meant to validate whether users can find services easily and quickly with the refreshed design, and whether the prioritisation of certain services were having the intended effect. There were also tests on other specific aspects of the app such as the recent/popular tabs.
These sessions yielded plenty of feedback that the design team used to further improve the app. For instance, many users who wanted to book barbeque pits failed because the app design required them to first know which public agency managed the pit they wanted. Integrating all barbeque bookings eliminated this stumbling block.
Behind the makeover, is a team of real people, solving real problems!
Leveraging feedback for improvement
Such improvements involved the development and product teams as well as collaboration with other government agencies.
“LifeSG is the result of close collaboration with many other government agencies. This collaboration makes the app useful, but it also means that we often receive suggestions that we simply have no control over,” the design team said. “We try to improve what we can improve, and respect what we can’t. But the great thing is that our partner agencies are also very receptive to user feedback.”
They also have to deal with the unavoidable situation of receiving conflicting feedback at times. After all, different individuals will find different parts of the app more useful to them. According to the team, this means finding the right balance between focusing on shared experiences so the app is relevant to more people and giving users what’s uniquely relevant to them.
“The challenge for our team is really to find the right balance between two approaches. Frankly, there’s still a long way to go before we’ll be able to get that balance right so the issue of conflicting points of view is here to stay,” the team said.
This is why it’s important to include as many diverse voices as possible when considering feedback. “When we’re building an app for such a large amount of people, it’s inevitable that some features will benefit certain groups more than others. Hopefully over time, we’ll be able to gradually right that balance, and give our users what’s uniquely relevant to them, no matter who they are.”
Constant work in progress
Enhancing the user experience is a constant work in progress and the team members keep themselves on their toes by being avid users of the app themselves.
For UX designer Li Ting Kway, the benefits section is what she checks most often. “It serves as a constant reminder that I have some Skillsfuture credits left unutilised, so I’m always thinking about what courses I can sign up with those. I also really like the finances section in the Profile page, because it gives me a quick overview of my CPF account.”
Of course, continual feedback can be hard to hear sometimes, and the team acknowledged that as designers, “we do get quite attached to the designs we come up with, especially if we’ve already devoted time and energy to making sure they’re the best they can be before testing”.
“We remind ourselves that there is no perfect design out there, and that everything can always be improved. We’re also aware that different users have different needs, and sometimes a design that best fits one group may not be as useful for another. Knowing that our users come from a diverse range of backgrounds and perspectives keeps us grounded in the work we do,” the team said.
At the end of the day, knowing their work has a tangible impact on the lives of many people is what keeps the team going.
“We recently conducted some user interviews on parents’ experiences using LifeSG to register their child’s birth, and one parent mentioned that she didn’t realise a government form could be so simple. She said she’d set aside an hour to complete the form, but had completed it within twenty minutes. Another parent also mentioned that the joint form was so seamless that he couldn’t recall having any issues with completing it,” the team said.
“These anecdotes stood out because we all know how exhausting it is for parents after their child is born, and it felt like we’d made an administrative process that usually takes energy and time to complete much quicker and easier. It’s especially humbling when you sit in these user research sessions and hear from the participants firsthand about their experiences using our product.”https://www.tech.gov.sg/media/technews/lifesg-gets-a-makeover