No unnecessary complications

"We want to see how we can serve parents in a good way and keep up with their needs," says Gunilla Dyrhage of the Swedish Social Insurance Agency

Interviews with members of the target group gave many insights, which lead to several different proposals.

A sketch from the new concept.

The family view will make it easier to get an overview of the whole family's affairs.

A sketch from the new concept.

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Closer to parents than ever

A mobile app for temporary parental benefit and a smoother flow when people apply for parental benefit. When the Swedish Social Insurance Agency improves its services in future, it will be because it has worked closer to parents than ever before.

 “We’ve had the same services and online flows since they were launched and that’s one of the reasons why we want to take a holistic approach to the target audience,” explains Gunilla Dyrhage, the business area manager for the self-service programme. “We want to see how we can serve them in a good way and keep up with their needs.” 

The Swedish Social Insurance Agency is therefore currently working to update the e-services for parental benefit. The goal is to make it as easy and convenient as possible to be in touch with the agency. To achieve this, the agency has taken a more customer-focused approach than ever.

 “When we developed the services our focus was very much on simplifying the administrative process, which had made things unnecessarily complicated for our clients,” says Lena Glennert, who is responsible for marketing. “If we are to increase their use of e-services, we need to ask them what kind of system they really want.”

The task of developing concepts for how to increase the proportion of self-service use and tailor the services to clients’ needs went to the service design firm Transformer Design. In the spring of 2011 the firm conducted 110 qualitative interviews to create a picture of what today’s parents want and need. However, to really gain an understanding of the clients the firm did not restrict its focus to e-services. It also asked what everyday life is like when a child becomes ill and what happens when people apply for parental benefit.

 “We saw a big gap in how people express themselves and look at things. For example, the Swedish Social Insurance Agency talks about benefits but parents regard parental benefit as a right,” explains Stina Engström, senior service designer at Transformator Design.

Her colleague Erik Widmark adds:

“If it’s a benefit then the agency can also place demands on the user. But when people regard it as a right and they have to read a long text to understand what to do, then obviously they get frustrated.”

The interviews yielded many valuable insights, which have led to several different proposals. One of the most important, which is also the basis for much of the work, is that parental benefit is often a family matter, not an individual one. After all, a number of family constellations involve two child carers who are trying to coordinate parental benefit. One of Transformer Design’s concepts therefore involved taking a “family view”, which makes it easier to get an overview of the whole family’s affairs. 

The work with the clients not only helped to shape the new proposals. It has also provided new perspectives, which in future could also be used in other areas of the Social Insurance Agency’s operations. 

“A great many insights have emerged, which may not necessarily end up in a finished concept, but could just as well affect how we structure our information,” says Lena Glennert. 

In the coming years, the Swedish Social Insurance Agency will continue to work with Transformer Design’s concept and change the system gradually. For example, the agency is developing a mobile application for temporary parental benefit and is planning to improve the “My Pages” section of its website, including with a calendar function. Moreover, it would seem that the agency will continue to apply a user perspective in the future.

“It makes us feel that both the client insights and the concepts are well grounded in the target group,” explains Gunilla Dyrhage. “We want to work more in this way in the future for other groups where we see there is a need.” 

Text: Sara Wilk Photos: Johan Bergmark

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The Swedish Social Insurance Agency improves – step by step

Spring 2011
During the spring Transformator Design did interviews with parents which formed the basis of the concepts the firm presented.

Autumn 2011
The Swedish Social Insurance Agency did a pilot study encompassing the first parts of the development project scheduled for in 2012.

Autumn 2012
Halfway through the year a mobile app was launched for temporary parental benefit. 

November 2012
The first changes were made. The plan is to improve the My Pages section, partly by adding a calendar function.

2013
The flows to do with the actual application for parental benefit will be improved. The goal is also to launch a family view, which will make it easier to get an overview of the whole family’s affairs.

SVID, Swedish Industrial Design Foundation | Svensksundsvägen 13, 111 49 Stockholm | info@svid.se I +46 (0)8 406 84 40

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SVID, Swedish Industrial Design Foundation | Svensksundsvägen 13, 111 49 Stockholm | info@svid.se I +46 (0)8 406 84 40