Enhancing usability through participatory design: A case study of the Norwegian Tax Administration's website.
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With rapid digitalization and the wide use of websites for e-governance, most of the interaction between users and governmental authorities takes place online. It is of importance that the websites are designed keeping in mind the experiences and digital competency of different user groups. Within the perception that Gen Z is more digitally inclined, the common assumption is they are far more at ease with digital technology. This thesis draws on theories from media science, perspectives from communication studies, along with principles from the field of interaction design. The focus in the study is on web- based interaction, by looking at how first-time tax filers (born 1997 - 2012) experience the website of the Norwegian National Tax Administration. Placed within the methodological framework of participatory design, data is gathered through a combination of qualitative interviews, a practical prototyping workshop, and finally a usability test. The test is conducted on a redesigned website, developed using the web-builder WIX.no. In order to comply with ethical consideration, no pictures or direct link to the redesigned page have been included in this thesis. Despite being considered digital natives, the first-time users in this study find difficulty in navigating the website, completing key tasks, and grasping the used terminology. the conclusion based on results from a usability test of the redesign supports that the redesign improves the usability, and enhances participation satisfaction. The empirical findings underline those design elements such as interactive features, feedback, and user-targeted content help improve the overall usability. The findings underline that the continued digitalization of the public sector needs to take into account the growing gap in digital competency, between the designers on one hand, and the younger generation on the other.