Designing with digital inclusion at the core

Photo of the Dartford Crossing bridge at night

<strong>Citizens Online's partnership with Conduent</strong>

Transportation Agencies, like many businesses that are digitally transforming, try to operate more efficiently by focusing on digital accounts and expanding payment channels offered. What if the problem was more fundamental and people just didn’t know what was available and how to use it?

Conduent is an experienced provider of end-to-end tolling, road usage charging and congestion management solutions. Although experts in their field, they recognised a need to make paying for road crossings more accessible for people with low or no digital skills.

Conduent approached Citizens Online as subject matter experts to help. Citizens Online has a wealth of experience in tackling digital and social inclusion which must sit at the heart of digital transformation to achieve successful channel shift, working to ensure that no one is left behind in today’s digital age.

a woman stressed at a laptop

30% of adults in the US struggle to use the internet. Around a fifth of the UK population do not have essential digital skills for life as defined by the UK Government.

A Dart Charge fit for the future

Digitally excluded and marginalised groups, often do not have their needs considered during product design, and when developing new processes to improve online services.

Embracing digital inclusion through design, ensures that products, services, and information are accessible to a broader audience. This inclusivity can lead to an expanded customer base and increased market share.

Digital inclusion frequently leads to cost savings for end users; online services can be more cost effective, and the ability to access information remotely reduces the need for physical travel and associated expenses.

Digital inclusion also facilitates improved communication between agencies and their customers. Users can engage through various digital channels, receive timely updates, and provide feedback, creating a more dynamic and responsive relationship.

Many regions also have regulations that require businesses to ensure digital accessibility for all users. Digital inclusion efforts can help companies comply with these regulations, avoiding legal issues and potential penalties.

Demonstrating a commitment to digital inclusion aligns with CSR goals. Agencies that actively contribute to making digital resources accessible to all contribute positively to their image and reputation.

About Citizens Online

Citizens Online is a charitable organisation. It exists to make sure that everyone can benefit from digital technology regardless of age, income, education or skill level, health, gender, ethnicity or any other potential barrier that could prevent people from accessing the online world. Our principle objective is to share our knowledge and skills to help organisations ensure that their digital programmes are fully inclusive.

“We were impressed with Conduent’s bold and progressive approach to improving Dart Charge, working with us to ensure inclusive digital transformation as a formula for success.” – Helen Dobson, Managing Director

The process:

  • Adopting a user centred design and testing services with users with low digital skills.
  • Delivering workshops and research on digital inclusion, identifying and gathering feedback on common barriers to using the Dart Charge service to support continual improvement activities.
  • Baselined digital exclusion risk to highlight the scale of digital exclusion in the local areas of Dartford and Thurrock.
  • Promoting accessibility and raising community awareness of available support.

The outcomes:

  • An Assisted Digital Strategy report with recommendations on inclusivity and continuous improvement opportunities for ongoing development in the future.
  • Recruiting Digital Champions and volunteers – in local communities surrounding the Dartford Crossing, providing sustainability and support.
  • Our work in Digital Dartford and Thurrock has created a local digital inclusion network of support for Dart Charge customers, from trusted Digital Champions.
  • Embedding Digital Inclusion in the Dart Charge contact centre to support customers who lack skills or need support to access online services.
  • A bespoke course to support Digital Champions to understand Dart Charge, how this works, options for customers and how best to support them.
  • Distribution of free SIMS to those in need.

The benefits:

Our partnership has worked well, resulting in an accessible, modern Dart charge system and increased understanding of the barriers digitally excluded people face.

This has also had an impact in increasing business efficiency by reducing calls in the longer term. Offline methods also remain available to ensure that the customers who are most in need still receive support. Training to understand how best to support these customers is also embedded into the contact centre practice.

Please contact us to find out how we can support your digital transformation project.