Hello Merdeka Generation - we enhanced the Moments of Life app for you
Singapore is home to one of the fastest ageing populations in the world. The government thus hopes to keep its senior citizens engaged in their silver years via the Moments of Life mobile app.
In June 2018, the Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech) launched the Moments of Life mobile app catering to the needs of young parents—the first example of a citizen-centric concierge-like approach to the provision of government digital services. Rather than seek out multiple ministries to register a new birth and apply for a baby bonus, young parents can now complete all these tasks on a single platform using a mobile device.
In this way, multiple touchpoints between citizens and the government are unified into a seamless and coherent service journey. This same approach is now being taken to cater to the unique requirements of another citizen demographic further downstream in the continuum of life—senior citizens.
Singapore is experiencing an ageing population, and by the year 2030, some 900,000 Singaporeans will be over the age of 65. Seeking to better serve this growing segment of society, GovTech is enhancing the Moments of Life mobile app with an Active Ageing module in September 2019.
“The Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) approached us [at GovTech] to create a mobile app for citizens over 60 years old, which include those eligible for the recently launched Merdeka Generation Package,” said Mr Simon Ang, assistant director at GovTech.
All activities at a glance
An important part of active ageing is keeping senior citizens involved and engaged in the community. To this end, the Health Promotion Board (HPB) and the People’s Association (PA) frequently organise events, courses and workshops catering to the elderly in Singapore. However, there is no single portal that integrates information from different agencies. Hence the suggestion to build a one-stop mobile-friendly platform for event listings that cater to seniors in Singapore. “Rather than create a separate mobile app to host these functions, we advised MOH and AIC to leverage existing digital infrastructure created for the Moments of Life app,” Mr Ang explained.
Now, when seniors log in to the MOL app, they can easily navigate a page that displays details about the various activities relevant to them.
Honouring the Merdeka Generation
Another critical function of the Moments of Life Active Ageing module is an embedded Merdeka Generation (MG) e-card. The Merdeka Generation Package (MGP) supports MG seniors’ aspirations to stay active and healthy. With this new module, MG seniors can show their MG e-card to receive subsidies at the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) GP and dental clinics, and discounts at participating merchant outlets.
When building this functionality, the GovTech team ran into the challenge of identifying citizens who received the MGP. As the team anticipated appeals for MGP, it was crucial to have a database that was updated in real-time to reflect successful appeals.
“In the end, we found that the ‘single source of truth’ suitable for our use lay with the Central Provident Fund (CPF),” said Mr Ang, crediting his colleagues at CPF for expediting their data uplink to the Moments of Life platform.
An ear to the ground
After overcoming the dataset issues, the GovTech team next had to contend with the need for multiple language options in the MOL app; many seniors prefer conversing in vernacular languages.
“We reached out to our partners for translation capabilities, and our colleagues at Singapore Press Holdings were crucial in helping to make the app more accessible to seniors,” said Mr Ang. With these elements in place, a prototype of the Moments of Life Active Ageing module was completed in March 2019 and was ready to move into the next phase: user testing.
User testing is a critical stage for any product, said Mr Ang, as it surfaces issues that may not have been uncovered during the development stage Some 400 seniors were consulted throughout the process of developing the app, from in-depth UI testing during the prototyping phases, to testing the live version of the product.
In addition to feedback on font sizes, seniors also preferred the use of symbols and icons for intuitive navigation of the app’s features. Many of the users also requested for CHAS benefits to be accessible via the app.
Inclusion and ambition
With these insights, the GovTech team iterated on their product, and between June and September 2019, conducted alpha- and beta-testing for further refinement.
The GovTech team is also looking at expanding the Moments of Life app’s range of functions. “For example, we found that there are seniors who want to look for short-term employment, say, to work for just a few hours a day, hence there may be synergies with the Moments of Life product we are building for working adults,” said Mr Ang.
“This is the beauty of the reusability of the various modules of our Moments of Life platform, where the technology we build to serve one population segment can be repurposed quickly and easily to serve another group of people,” he quipped.