Good design is honest

Remember the talk about the citizen account and its usefulness? How many council websites make grand claims for the usefulness of their citizen account which aren’t met even where the functionality actually is useful to the citizen There’s one citizen account platform in common use across the sector which on the login screen proclaims ‘Once signed in you can track the progress of your cases and collaborate in real time.  Don't have an account? Register, it takes less than a minute’. 

Whilst it’s true that the platform in question does indeed support the possibility of real-time collaboration, where on an individual case details page updates appear as they’re posted by any user working on that case without anybody needing to click refresh, with status changes and messages logged on the timeline, how many councils are making full use of that real-time collaborative capability with their citizen users? How many councils even have the resources to deploy staff to update a citizen’s flytipping report beyond the level of detail of saying it’s been received and then subsequently possibly add that it’s been removed? If you’re telling citizens they’ll be able to sit in front of a live chat system, where they can post a question asking when the pothole is going to be fixed and get an answer within minutes, but no such answer is going to be forthcoming, then you’re not being honest. Also, have you actually timed the real end to end process of registering for a new account?