Canada has welcomed over 1.2 Million immigrants in the last five years alone. Imagine how many lost documents, missed deadlines, and rework has been required due to the inevitable misunderstandings that occur as people from abroad attempt to relocate their lives?
Immigration processes can take years and cause an immense amount of anxiety for all those involved. Ensuring that the UX of this process is streamlined will help both the government agencies and the people they’re serving.
While UX can be applied to every level of the immigration process, I’m going to address those accessing immigration information on the internet.
According to the United States Department of Health & Human Service’s usability hub, they describe the core of UX as:
“…ensuring that users find value in what you are providing to them.”
Value can only be achieved if all six factors of user experience surrounding it are realized.
The six factors of UX:
Whether it’s a physical or digital encounter, the experience of your end user must be observed from their perspective.
I’m going to discuss a few ways that the Candian Immigration and Citizenship homepage can increase the usability of their services following the six UX Factors previously mentioned.
When I googled “Canada immigration”, the first non-ad link presented to me brought me to the Immigration and citizenship webpage within the Government of Canada’s website (as seen below).
What is the user experience of this web page based on the 6 Factors of UX?
Your content should be original and fulfill a need
The usefulness will depend on who’s accessing the site because there are a lot of reasons people would be arriving.
The first thing that stands out is the image on the right and the link below discussing the Atlantic Immigration Pilot. My eyes then take me to the Most Requested section on the right. Before scrolling, I also notice the Social Medias they list, before seeing that they list the Services and Information, followed by Features after two mouse scrolls.
Image, identity, brand, and other design elements are used to evoke emotion and appreciation
The page has a lot of white space. The main image looks like a typical stock image. The look is clean, but not in a modern way. It feels sterile and government-y.
Site must be easy to use
The large buttons on the top indicating that I am on the Immigration section of the Government of Canada’s website are easy to read and selection is indicated by the darker section. The titles of each Service and Information is underlined to indicate that it is clickable. All the links work. The social media accounts at the top are all active.
Content needs to be accessible to people with disabilities
Applying a colour-blind simulator to the homepage reveals that the colour choices make it accessible to those with difficulty seeing colours.
Content needs to be navigable and locatable onsite and offsite
The navigation bar makes it clear that we’re on the Immigration and Citizenship section of the website. Hovering over the navigation shows you the sub-levels of that topic.
Users must trust and believe what you tell them
Accessed from the secure domain canada.ca. Government’s logo appears at both the top and bottom of the page.
Overall, the UX of Canada’s Immigration and Citizenship main website is fairly well thought through. They stay consistent throughout, following their accessibility mandate very strictly. The colour pallet makes it colour blind friendly, and the navigation is easy to understand.
All the content on the page is topical and action-oriented. The page is trustworthy and works well with all other federal web pages.
That being said, it isn’t an inspiring or fun page to be on. I understand that the Government isn’t meant to be sexy, but there needs to be a certain amount of inspiration given to people who access government services. This will be the first impression of communicating with the Canadian government.
There is also no ability to translate the page to languages other than English and French. This could be an issue for a newcomer without the language proficiency to navigate their immigration process.
The government has a unique opportunity to really get their user experiences right. In the business world, customer service is a huge differentiating factor between businesses. The same can be said for governments. Well designed citizen-facing services are definitely in the best interest of governments.