Improving access to public services with CivTech and mygov.scot
CivTech® Demo Day finally arrived on 10 January, and we were excited to present our solution to a packed auditorium at Edinburgh International Conference Centre.
Our CivTech Challenge
Our sponsor this time was mygov.scot and our challenge was: ‘How can we use technology to provide better access to public services?’. mygov.scot is a Scottish Government website that aims to join up public services based on user needs. It currently has thousands of pages of information, and the volume is always increasing. For the proof of concept we focused on a ‘relationship breakdown’ scenario – a complex, life changing event such as a divorce, in which an individual may have no idea what support and services are available to them.
The challenge faced by mygov is delivering the most relevant information to the citizen quickly and easily. In order to do this, it is crucial that content creators and curators within the Scottish Government can surface, navigate and process all this information in an intuitive way. This will make it easier to deliver targeted content relevant to a citizen’s unique circumstances. That’s where our solution comes in.
We developed contextual search and discovery tools which help content curators to access all the most relevant information. These can be used to annotate and auto-tag content within a CMS, creating a linked data ecosystem – similar to an indexed library in which information from any number of sources can be surfaced quickly and efficiently. In other words, giving content owners the tools to make the most out of their content, without taking control away from people that write and know about the subject areas in question.
Engaging with users
To explore how content designers would use these tools, we ran a user workshop attended by content professionals from the Scottish Government, Citizen’s Advice Scotland, the NHS and Registers of Scotland. This involved mapping the stages of the content design process, identifying pain points and discussing the ways in which our product could help with these.
The session was very valuable in terms of developing our understanding of common issues – as a result we’ve gained insight into how our tools could be used for research, content validation, and to assess the most authoritative materials and references.
As ever the CivTech® workshops and support which form part of the Accelerator have been extremely valuable in terms of developing our solution and our business as a whole – covering everything from finance to branding, marketing and business planning.
We’re now looking to further demonstrate the value of semantic technologies in the workplace and to get more feedback on our product’s design, functionality and user journey. Our ultimate aim is that the work of CivTech®, the challenge sponsors and companies will lead to improved public services and further collaboration between government teams and innovative businesses.
It was fantastic to see the culmination of everyone’s hard work on Demo Day and we’re looking forward to seeing what comes next!