IFAF research project: From administration to experience

More and more companies are gearing their communications and services to the needs of their customers. While companies differ less and less in their product offerings, the customer experience is an increasingly important differentiator in highly competitive markets. Administration is almost uncompetitive. In terms of the services offered to citizens, the topic of user-centered design has hardly been taken up in Germany yet.

Pictures: Luise Schumann; illustrations: Johanna Götz (research assistant)

The research team at HTW Berlin has started the experiment with a small Berlin administration to apply these methods in a very concrete way and to observe how these processes can be implemented in a typical German administration. Finally, the 5-member team of the Zahnärztlicher Dienst Neukölln was selected. The office has the task of checking the dental health of all children in this district, informing them about dental hygiene and, in the worst case, ordering further examinations.
A special challenge of this authority is the extensive communication with schools and parents. Many parents who are not or not yet able to speak German have problems understanding and filling out the forms. In one of the socially poorest districts in Berlin, dental health is comparatively bad. This makes it all the more important to sensitize children to the topic of dental hygiene.
With about 150 children a day, every move has to be right for the staff. Processes have been in place for years and there is no time to question them in everyday life. The researchers now had the opportunity to observe these processes and to better understand the existing processes by means of interviews. For the first time, children and teachers were also asked about their perception. This feedback served as a basis for the joint definition of measures which the research team was then able to implement in the course of a year. Among other things, new, greatly shortened and simplified forms with a digital translation, adaptation of the room design to children’s needs and didactic tools were developed.

„If we want children to learn about the importance of dental hygiene and perhaps also discover a little pleasure in brushing their teeth, we must also offer them something. And that is certainly not by wagging the finger.“

Falko Liecke, District Councillor for Youth and Health in Neukölln

Image 1: Illustration: Sophia Ulbrich; spatial conception: Martina Haag, Maria Scherlies, Svenja Schulze
Image 2: Design: Stefanie Voß and Maria Scherlies
Image 3: Design: Leonore Bruckschlägel and Stefanie Voß