The Challenge of Designing User-Centric E-Services: European Dimensions

The Challenge of Designing User-Centric E-Services: European Dimensions

Patrizia Lombardi (Politecnico di Torino, Italy), Ian Cooper (Eclipse Research Consultants, UK), Krassimira Paskaleva-Shapira (Forschungzentrum Karlsruhe Gmbh, Germany) and Mark Deakin (Napier University - Scotland, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-282-4.ch024
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Harnessing ICTs effectively is one of the main vehicles for achieving the EU’s 2010 strategy to become the most competitive digital knowledge-based economy. Achieving this requires innovation and a process of cultural, structural, and economical change towards the so-called eAgora. This requires that citizens are at the center of attention in the design of civic on-line developments in terms of accessibility. This chapter identifies significant challenges to the design of such user-centric e-services, by illustrating some key results of the European Union (EU) IST Framework 6 research project - IntelCities (2004). It presents the City e-governance framework developed in the research project and it shows how the contents of cities’ existing Web sites do not completely satisfy the expectations of the OECD in the European cities visited by the IntelCities Roadshows. It indicates a consistent way forward for the development of the online services offered by the IntelCities e-learning platform. The chapter closes by querying whether either the European cities examined or their citizens have the appetite for the proposed eAgora that will be necessary for its effective implementation and operation.
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Information and communication technologies (ICTs) loom large in the EU’s policies for sustainable development. Much hangs on their assumed capacity to generate and maintain more sustainable patterns of living and working. And ICTs are expected to deliver this transformation on at least four spatial scales: the EU as a whole, its regions, cities, and individual workplaces. Given the breadth and depth of these ambitions (Cooper et al., 2005), it is difficult to exaggerate the importance of successful exploitation of ICTs to the delivery of sustainable development in Europe.

The Lisbon European Council (CEC, 2000) sought to make Europe “the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion”. This objective was reinforced by the Commission in the i2010 initiative which sets the strategic framework for ICT policies in the Union and underlines that: “Information and Communication technologies provide the backbone for the knowledge economy” (CEC, 2002, p.24). The Knowledge Society is seen as a key factor for growth and employment, contributing to economic and social development in Europe.

The conjoint realization of sustainable urban development within a knowledge-based society has been summarized by the notion of the eAgora illustrated in Figure 1. This is taken from the Intelcity roadmap developed under the EU’s 5th Framework Programme. This roadmap projected a vision of an integrated open intelligent information city platform system to support and integrate achieving the knowledge society and sustainable development of cities. Ancient Greeks went to the Agora, a civic square used for public assembly or commerce, to do business or discuss plans for their community. Intelcity envisaged modern Europeans behaving similarly but in the eAgora. By bringing together unconnected sources of information in one place, and making that place available in digital space to everyone, from city planners, building developers, politicians, to individual citizens, the eAgora could support improved management of cities and so help in achieving long-term physical, social and economic sustainability (Lombardi and Cooper, 2007) .

Figure 1.

Intelcity summary roadmap diagram

In turn, this vision of the eAgora is based on wider vision of ICT-enabled participation in eDemocracy; on the active participation of citizens, using ICTs, in decision-making and on collaboration between disparate stakeholders for policy-making purposes. Such eParticipation consists of three main components (OCED, 2001): information provision; transactions (delivery of on-line services), and deliberation (citizen engagement in civic decision-making). Achieving this vision puts citizens at the centre of attention in the design of such on-line developments in terms of accessibility including, for example, the visually disabled, different age and language groups.

Encouraging participation was reinforced by the eEurope 2005 Action Plan (CEC, 2002) intended to form part of the delivery of the Lisbon strategy to build a knowledge-based economy by 2010, with improved employment opportunities and social cohesion. Unfortunately, despite the substantial body of knowledge with regard to the different applications of eParticipation, the reason why so few are utilizing the full potential of eGovernance as a tool is uncertain (Harald & Krimmer, 2005). In particular, why are so many cities not facing the challenge of involving the public in participatory and deliberative thought processes that could augment government’s decision-making?

A published report on the promise and problems of eDemocracy (OECD, 2003) identified some of the major barriers to digital citizen engagement and identified five main challenges, using the citizen as a point of reference. These are: Coping with the problem of scale; Building capacity and active citizenship; Ensuring coherence throughout the policy-making progress; Evaluating the benefits and impacts of offering digital citizen engagement; Ensuring government commitment.

Key Terms in this Chapter

IntelCities Citizen Engagement Matrix: It consists of a list of 40 on-line tools and services mapped against five increasing categories of city-citizen engagement in e-space. It is used to examine the types of policies currently being adopted by cities to engage their citizens as active participants and key stakeholders in the community.

Community Grid for Learning (CGfL): It provides the infrastructure needed for citizens to learn about the planning, development, and design of their cities and engage in local decisions made about the promotion of urban villages and neighborhoods as sustainable communities under the city’s urban regeneration strategy. It is an innovative ICT-enabled network which provides an information portal and Community Grid for Learning (CGfL).

IntelCities E-Learning Platform: It allows the citizens, communities, and organizations in question to collaborate and build consensus on the competencies, skills, and training needed for the development of the online services required to support urban regeneration programs.

eAgora: It aims to support improved management of cities and to achieve long-term physical, social and economic sustainability by bringing together unconnected sources of information in one place, and making that place available in digital space to everyone, from city planners, building developers, politicians, to individual citizens.

IntelCities eCity Platform: A prototype integrated information system for cities which links the range of electronic local government services (e-government) with those of local planning, urban development and regeneration (e-planning).

eDomus: Use of ICTs by citizens is mainly domestic and privately centered, with a very small and limited drive towards their employment for public participation (Domicili and Piersanti, 2004; Lombardi and Cooper, 2007).

IntelCities City eGovernance Model or Framework: It refers to the use of digital technologies by government agencies to facilitate effective decision making and improve public policies in the local communities.

E-Services: The provision of service over electronic networks, which include Internet, wireless networks and electronic environments (e.g. kiosks), based on an interactive information exchange with the satisfied customer (consumer-centred approach).

Complete Chapter List

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Table of Contents
G. David Garson
Christopher G. Reddick
Christopher G. Reddick
Chapter 1
Vishanth Weerakkody, Gurjit Dhillon
Most public services are overly complex, and separate where citizens have no choice in the service that they receive. All too often, Information and... Sample PDF
Moving from E-Government to T-Government: A Study of Process Reengineering Challenges in a UK Local Authority Context
Chapter 2
Tino Schuppan
This chapter addresses the link between e-government, organizational networks related to it, and the possibilities for structural reform of... Sample PDF
Local Level Structural Change and E Government in Germany
Chapter 3
Stephen King
This chapter describes a journey through e-enabled local public services. We start with the familiar local government Web site and contact centre... Sample PDF
Innovation and Citizen-Centric Local E-Government
Chapter 4
Krassimira Paskaleva-Shapira
This chapter shares experience on aspects related to the methodology and modeling of a framework of City E-Governance Readiness. We discuss Europe’s... Sample PDF
Assessing Local Readiness for City E-Governance in Europe
Chapter 5
Mark Deakin
The chapter examines the IntelCities Community of Practice (CoP) supporting the development of the organization’s e-Learning platform, knowledge... Sample PDF
The IntelCities Community of Practice: The eGov Services Model for Socially Inclusive and Participatory Urban Regeneration Programs
Chapter 6
Sarah Cotterill
In the United Kingdom and throughout the world there is increasing emphasis on public sector organizations working together in local partnerships.... Sample PDF
Local E-Government Partnerships
Chapter 7
Ian McLoughlin
In the United Kingdom, major investments have been made in e-government in order to modernize government and improve the efficiency and quality of... Sample PDF
Towards Digital Governance in UK Local Public Services?
Chapter 8
Bryan Reece, Kim Andreasson
There has been considerable attention given to the issue of unrepresentative access; however, research to date has focused on individual level... Sample PDF
Institutional E-Government Development
Chapter 9
Tina Jukic, Mateja Kunstelj, Mitja Decman, Mirko Vintar
In this chapter, 3 main aspects of municipal e-government in Slovenia are investigated thoroughly: supply, demand, and the view of municipal... Sample PDF
E-Government in Slovene Municipalities: Analysing Supply, Demand and its Effects
Chapter 10
Lourdes Torres, Vicente Pina, Basilio Acerete, Sonia Royo
This work tries to assess to what extent e-government enables transparency, openness and, hence, accountability in public administrations. For this... Sample PDF
E-Government and Accountability in EU Local Governments
Chapter 11
Stephen K. Aikins
A Comparative Study of Municipal Adoption of Internet-Based Citizen Participation Sample PDF
A Comparative Study of Municipal Adoption of Internet-Based Citizen Participation
Chapter 12
Janita Stuart, Val Hooper
The uptake of Internet voting for local government elections is still in its infancy worldwide. While it holds many potential benefits, there are... Sample PDF
Sociological Factors Influencing Internet Voting
Chapter 13
Sonja Knapp, Yun Chen, Andy Hamilton, Volker Coors
Urban Planning is a multi-disciplinary process. Social-economic, environmental and natural resources issues need to be considered to ensure urban... Sample PDF
An ePlanning Case Study in Stuttgart Using OPPA 3D
Chapter 14
Jennifer Evans-Cowley, Maria Manta Conroy
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Local Government Experiences with ICT for Participation
Chapter 15
Michael J. Jensen
This chapter analyzes the “impact” of information and communication technologies (ICTs) on local government officials’ policy decision-making.... Sample PDF
Electronic Democracy and Citizen Influence in Government
Chapter 16
Yu-Che Chen, Ashley Dorsey
To meet the current and future senior citizens’ demand for e-government, local governments will need to have a better understanding of their needs.... Sample PDF
E-Government for Current and Future Senior Citizens
Chapter 17
Don-yun Chen, Tong-yi Huang, Naiyi Hsiao, Tze-Luen Lin, Chung-Pin Lee
This chapter introduces a case of e-deliberation in Taiwan. Democratic deepening can be achieved by the application of information and communication... Sample PDF
Experimental E-Deliberation in Taiwan: A Comparison of Online and Face-to-Face Citizens' Conferences in Beitou, Taipei
Chapter 18
Greg Streib, Ignacio Navarro
The development of e-government has attracted considerable scholarly interest in recent years, but relatively little has been written about the... Sample PDF
City Managers and E-Government Development: Assessing Technology Literacy and Leadership Needs
Chapter 19
Zhenyu Huang
This chapter presents a comprehensive analysis of the 3,099 U.S. counties’ adoption and diffusion of e-government and the functions provided by... Sample PDF
U.S. Counties' Efforts and Results: An Empirical Research on Local Adoption and Diffusion of E-Government
Chapter 20
Suzanne J. Piotrowski, Erin L. Borry
Government websites are quickly becoming the first point of contact for citizens and visitors seeking information. Local government websites’... Sample PDF
Transparency and Local Government Websites
Chapter 21
Marc Holzer, Aroon Manoharan
The chapter is based on the results of an international survey of municipal Web portals conducted through a collaboration between the E-Governance... Sample PDF
E-Governance and Quality of Life: Associating Municipal E-Governance with Quality of Life Worldwide
Chapter 22
Mete Yildiz
This chapter presents an analysis of local e-government adoption and implementation in Turkey. To this end, academic articles, various laws, and... Sample PDF
An Overview of Local E-Government Adoption and Implementation in Turkey
Chapter 23
Bekir Parlak, Zahid Sobaci
This chapter aims to evaluate the e-government practices in metropolitan municipalities in Turkey by determining functionality levels of... Sample PDF
The Functionality of Website-Based Services of Metropolitan Municipalities in Turkey
Chapter 24
Patrizia Lombardi, Ian Cooper, Krassimira Paskaleva-Shapira, Mark Deakin
Harnessing ICTs effectively is one of the main vehicles for achieving the EU’s 2010 strategy to become the most competitive digital knowledge-based... Sample PDF
The Challenge of Designing User-Centric E-Services: European Dimensions
Chapter 25
Raoul J. Freeman
This chapter reviews various strategic frameworks for e-government which include goals and objectives. Among typical goals are the following... Sample PDF
Goals Measurement and Evaluation of E-Gov Projects
Chapter 26
Jussi S. Jauhiainen, Tommi Inkinen
Finland is among the leading information societies. The national information society strategy aims to make the information society accessible by... Sample PDF
E-Governance and the Information Society in Periphery
Chapter 27
Sean M. Bossinger
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Open Source Software Use in Local Governments
Chapter 28
Mark Cassell
This chapter examines empirically, the intended and unintended consequences that occur when a local government chooses to migrate away from a... Sample PDF
When Local Governments Choose Open Source Technology
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The Wireless City  (pages 554-568)
Sukumar Ganapati, Christian F. Schoepp
In this chapter, we explore the evolution of wireless broadband networks in cities. We examine the technological alternatives for city-wide... Sample PDF
The Wireless City
Chapter 30
Paul M.A. Baker, Avonne Bell, Nathan W. Moon
This chapter presents the results of an examination of the current state of U.S. municipal wireless network design and policies with regards to... Sample PDF
Accessibility Issues in Municipal Wireless Networks
Chapter 31
Roland J. Cole, Isabel A. Cole, Jennifer A. Kurtz
The key reason for including this chapter in this book is that the development of more advanced forms of e-government requires that residences have... Sample PDF
Municipal Efforts to Promote Residential Broadband
Chapter 32
Jenni Viitanen, Richard Kingston
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The Role of Public Participation GIS in Local Service Delivery
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Terry Murphy
Geographical Information System (GIS) technology applications for use in the field of economic development are relatively new. Local economic... Sample PDF
GIS: Changing the Economic Development World
Chapter 34
Paul T. Jaeger
Many residents and local communities rely on public libraries for access to and training to use e-government. Many local governments direct citizens... Sample PDF
Public Libraries and Local E-Government
Chapter 35
Muhammad Mustafa Kamal, M. Themistocleous
Literature indicates that Local Government Authorities (LGAs) have problems in meeting citizens’ demands. This may be attributed to the limitations... Sample PDF
Investigating Enterprise Application Integration Adoption in the Local Government Authorities
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Jeffrey Roy
This chapter will compare the emergence of e-government in Denmark and Canada with a particular emphasis on the municipal and inter-governmental... Sample PDF
Enterprise Application Integration; Healthcare Organizations; Information Technology ; Large Organizations; Local Government Authorities
Chapter 37
Genie N.L. Stowers
This case describes the case of a small California city, San Carlos, a continued early adopter in the e-government areas. The chapter asks the... Sample PDF
The Little City That Could: The Case of San Carlos, California
Chapter 38
Howard A. Frank
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Implementing ActiveStrategy in Miami-Dade County
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Greta Nasi
The purpose of this chapter is to assess the current status and level of technology in providing on line services among larger Italian... Sample PDF
E-Government and Local Service Delivery: The Case of Italian Local Governments
Chapter 40
Andreas Ask, Mathias Hatakka, Åke Grönlund
This chapter discusses practices, opportunities, and challenges in local e-government project management by means of a case study involving... Sample PDF
The Örebro City Citizen-Oriented E-Government Strategy
Chapter 41
Ik Jae Chung
As a nationwide e-government project in South Korea, the Information Network Village project was launched in 2001. It was designed to increase... Sample PDF
Toward E-Government Sustainability: The Information Network Village Project in South Korea
Chapter 42
Samiaji Sarosa, Jenjang Sri Lestari
This chapter examined the state of Jogjakarta’s local governments Web sites (i.e, Bantul, Sleman, Kulon Progo, City of Jogjakarta and The Special... Sample PDF
The Level and Impact of Web Based E-Government Adoption: The Case of Jogjakarta's Local Governments
Chapter 43
Maniam Kaliannan, Hazman Shah Abdullah, Murali Raman
Despite the many quarrels and complaints about the quality of local government in Malaysia, it continues to be an important part of the overall... Sample PDF
Local E-Government in Malaysia: An Empirical Investigation
Chapter 44
Sam Lubbe, Shawren Singh
This chapter explores the issues of the interface between Information Systems (IS) and society. We investigate IS and users of these systems at a... Sample PDF
From Conception to Demise: Implications for Users of Information Systems in Changing a Local Parastatal Educational Institution in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
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José Rodrigues Filho, João Rodrigues dos Santos Junior
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Local E-Government in Brazil: Poor Interaction and Local Politics as Usual
Chapter 46
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Indian Police E-Government System: A Study of Provincial Police
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About the Contributors