#AppReview: Lagos State ‘Citizens Gate’, a Formidable First From the Centre of Excellence
App: Lagos State Citizens Gate
Developer: Patuxent Innovations
Launch Date: January, 2017
According to the state government, the Lagos State Citizens Gate app was designed “to facilitate interaction and provision of services between government and the citizens from the comfort of their homes and offices without necessarily paying a visit to government establishments where such services are being provided.”
The App is divided into 6 segments: file a feedback, LASRRA registration, department and agencies, online payment for state services, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), and Local Governments. Each of the segments is designed to provide useful information for users to engage.
Situated at the top right corner of the Citizens gate app is the login button. This leads to a page that allows users log in using their registered email address and passwords before they can update their feedback using the app. The file a feedback segment serves as both registration point for users as well as a feedback port. Users are required to fill in their details to create a profile. Thereafter, a text message and email is sent to confirm registration as well as provide their login details (email and password).
Going forward, the top right button provides three drop-down options for the registered app user: View tickets, to check a list of previous feedbacks, File a feed, which leads to a form that will allow users log a feedback and then there’s Update profile, which speaks for itself.
The LASRRA registration button leads to the Lagos State Residents Registration Agency’s (LASRRA) website. This feature, I believe, is situated on the app to promote citizens registration and grow the state’s database. Not a bad move at all.
The Departments and agencies segment of the Citizens gate app offers a list of 108 Ministries, Departments and Agencies in the state alongside their website addresses. The Online payment for state services button leads to a payment collection site, Multichannel Payments (mPay) where citizens can pay bills using a unique reference code provided by the receiving agency.
The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) segment is the most detailed part of the Citizens gate app. It provides answers to commonly asked questions about the state’s MDAs and their operations. The Local Governments segment gives a list of the 56 Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in the state and their addresses.
The notion of creating an app that will serve as feedback mechanism by the Lagos state is highly commendable, especially at a time when the gap between the leaders and the people is increasing. At a time when all that a certain arm of government could think about is a suggestion box.
The Citizens gate app is easy to use and devoid of needless functions that could muffle the voice citizens were supposed to have been given. Yet, like every good app, there are a number of improvements that the state team should consider.
First, some of the Citizens gate app segments/contents are rather redundant. For instance, why do we have to commit a segment to a list of the 56 LCDAs and their addresses? That could be gotten anywhere else other than the citizens feedback app. If the segment could enable users check out the activities of the LCDAs or submit feedbacks directly to them, then it would cease to be a waste of space. Similarly redundan is the list of the MDAs and their website addresses.
If the creators of this app intend it to serve functions other than allow citizens communicate with the government, they can consider infusing interesting details like projects updates, town-hall meetings, photo news, tourism sites and city facts. This way, users can be educated, entertained and intrigued to visit fascinating parts of the state.
Some technical details: the developers should consider creating an internal browser so users don’t have to exit the app. Then, navigation buttons should be included to help users get around the app. Also, a ‘Register’ button should be included to make it easy for new users.
With Citizens gate 1.0.2, Lagos State Government has shown other states the way to go. We cannot but hope that the 2.0 version of the app will depict true excellence.