Help Estonia to define democracy in a digital age.
Onboard is a concept for the e-Democracy system in Estonia. It is a component for EIS that focuses on simplifying the draft management in the policy-making process. The project is a service design effort, done in collaboration between the Estonian Government Office and IxD.ma in the first semester of 2018.
EIS (Eelnõude Infosüsteem) or “E-consultation” system for drafts, is a digital working environment for ministries, which allows the discussion of domestic and EU legal acts with other ministries and/or the public, and the submission of legal acts to the government and the parliament. The system is Estonia’s example to the world of transparency and e-Democracy, however, the system was not yet intuitive enough to foster high public participation, and still had room for optimization for officials to work with it.
In group work, qualitative research has been conducted with different stakeholders, with the objective to understand all the parties involved with EIS, what are their needs, behaviors, and expectations. This includes officials and specialists from inside the Government Office and also general citizens.
In the policy-making process, officials have to deal with multiple systems for different purposes. Constantly documents and information need to be searched, however, to find information in EIS is often not easy. So among government officials, email ends up as a shortcut to contact a person involved to ask for a specific piece of information, rather than looking up in the system.
The result of the research was a compilation of insights from different interviewees who were involved directly or indirectly with EIS. The insights were then used by the teams to identify the personas and later move to individual solutions.
Among the needs found on the research phase, one focus issue was chosen for this project: the difficulty for an official or government specialist to keep track of the progress of a legal act draft using EIS in combination with other related internal systems, such as Delta, Pinal, e-cabinet, email, etc. A great part of the time spent with routine activities could be applied to public engagement and impact in the e-Democracy as a whole.
With the objective of reducing the time spent with routine tasks related to a draft, the proposed solution, called Onboard, puts together the people involved with a certain draft, gives a clear view of the work that have been done previously, and set the tasks that the logged user has to take related to the draft. If there are more than one draft ongoing, the professional should be able to keep track of each draft more easily.
The solution is a component for EIS, that puts together all the legal act drafts that are related to the professional, the involved stakeholders and references the other systems. The user will not seek related documents elsewhere or reach someone to ask for information, important documents are organized in an interactive timeline, it is easy to see who participates in the draft and also to invite someone else.
By improving the work routine, there will be more time available to engage with people and include citizens in the policy-making process.
The solution also aims to provide similar interaction for the public view of the draft, so the citizens will be able to easily follow the history of a draft, understand and contribute with more meaningful and thoughtful opinions.
The timeline marks important decision steps, based on the actual process. The user is able to quickly roll back the history of the draft to understand how it has been built.
The specialist can use the timeline to quickly see what are the next steps and each department involved.
For most officials, a great part of the work with EIS is done in a tablet. A decision session can be as fast as 3 minutes, so it is important that information is easy to find and accessible anywhere.