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Study on User Expectations of a Life Events Approach for Designing e-Government Services

Project Date: 
Jan 2010

The Study on User Expectations of a Life Events Approach for Designing e-Government Services project for the European Commission investigated the new government landscape online and how eGovernment expectations among citizens and eGovernment services have changed. Project partners included: Deloitte, the Oxford Internet Institute, and Dear Media.

The project involved user experiments designed and conducted by Helen Margetts (OII), Scott Hale (OII), and Stephane Reissfelder (OII) to investigate how citizens responded to a range of life events involving more than one European Member State in an online setting. The experiments, involving a total of 130 subjects, were conducted in OxLab, a social science experimental laboratory jointly run by the Oxford Internet Institute and Said Business School, in seven sessions from 26 May to 2 June 2010. The subjects were asked to find information on the Internet relating to a number of scenarios involving life events. They were randomly allocated across a control group (where they could use any method they liked to find the information) and a treatment group (where they were presented with links to government portals and web sites relating to the individual life events). Subjects participated via a custom built interface and were incentivized with a variable payment between £7 and £13.50, according to the number of correct answers provided. All online behaviour was tracked to create a dataset, which was used to analyse differences in the strategies of subjects in treatment and control groups. This allowed the research team to evaluate the effectiveness of government online provision in satisfying the information needs of EU citizens facing life events.

A report containing information on the findings of the user experiments as well as desk research from project partners was presented to Unit H2, ICT for Government and Public Services, of the Directorate General for Information Society and Media of the European Commission in July 2010.


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