Can you think of anyone whose life is not affected by government information and communications technology? Anyone at all?
Even in the farthest reaches of the remotest areas, even when a population is completely isolated from the outside world, people’s lives are affected by the policies and procedures of the government that administers the area in which they live, and no doubt those of some other governments as well. And virtually all* governments carry out their procedures with the support of information and communications technologies (ICTs).
The usability of government systems affects us all. All 6.8 billion of us.
Usability is the effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction that a system or product provides to the people who use it. Even if we never use any government systems ourselves — even if we never visit a government website to pay a parking ticket or obtain retirement/pension information — we feel the effects of the usability of the systems that our governments at all levels use to conduct their business. Effectiveness and efficiency (two sides of the usability triangle) are major factors in the productivity of both civil servants and military personnel. Satisfaction (the other side of the triangle) is more important for encouraging citizens to use online methods to interact and communicate with government, but it also plays a role in fostering morale and therefore productivity of government employees. If you like your job, you are likely to be better at it.
Some may say that politics enters into the question of government system usability; I say it does not. We may disagree about what we want government to do, but I think we can all agree that we want it to be more cost effective.
In the usability of government systems, we are all stakeholders.
* Do you know of a government that doesn’t use ICT at all? Please let me know! If you could do this via a comment to this post, that would be even more awesome, and greatly appreciated.