SINGAPORE: A facility - which houses a team of data scientists, designers, engineers and coders, and where Government services and apps are given a tech makeover - has officially opened.
The IDA Hive, located at Sandcrawler in Fusionopolis, was officially opened by Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim on Thursday (Oct 29), although the team there started work two years ago.
Dr Yaacob said: "People are at the heart of a Smart Nation. The Government needs to ensure that the digital experiences it delivers to citizens are useful, relevant and easy enough for anyone to use, regardless of their level of tech-savviness."
(Photo: Leong Wai Kit)
The 13,000 sq ft facility houses various departments such as a design experience lab, which is fitted with sensor technology. Experts will have the space to research how their Government services will impact end users, by carrying out user-experience testing.
Such tests could include inviting the public to the lab to carry out various tasks, such as finding an email on the website. The team would measure how long the user took, record mouse movements and even track the user's eye movements on the page. These details help the team piece together findings, such as whether the page needs changes to the layout, the placement of icons or image sizes.
Nearly 100 data scientists, designers, engineers and coders work at the Hive.
"Singaporeans are going to be tech-savvy," said Dr Yaacob. "They're going to expect higher standards in terms of how they engage the Government, and because we are going digital in a big way, we have to make sure the user experience meets the expectations of Singaporeans."
Some of the apps which they have developed include the Singapore Civil Defence Force’s myResponder, which tells first aiders where their nearest Automatic External Defibrillators are.
WOOING BACK SINGAPOREANS
The Government is also keen to woo back more Singaporeans to boost the talent pool in the Hive such as Mr Parimal Aswani, who has worked at Dreamworks and Lucasfilm Animation.
"Actually it took quite a while before I decided to come back," he said. "There was apprehension moving back to Singapore. The other apprehension was more towards bureaucracy in Government. However when I saw GDS - the group here - it's quite amazing and sometimes it's even better than many of the private companies out there."
Mr Parimal said it is likely to take three to five years for his team's work to significantly improve Singaporeans' lives.