Aiming to become an account that accelerates Fukuoka’s transformation into a “Civic Smart City”.
LINE Corporation (“LINE”; Location: Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo; Representative Director, President, and Chief Executive Officer: Takeshi Idezawa) and its Fukuoka-based subsidiary, LINE Fukuoka Corporation (“LINE Fukuoka”; Location: Hakata Ward, Fukuoka; Representative Director, President, and Chief Executive Officer: Noritaka Ochiai) are pleased to announce the redesign of the Fukuoka City official LINE account and the addition of the “Childcare Assistance Feature” (子育て案内機能) released on March 31. The redesigned account will begin full operation on April 1.
Overview of the redesign of the Fukuoka City Official LINE Account (LINE ID: @fukuokacity)
1.Categories have changed from features to resident needs
2.Based on behavior observation, buttons have been added where they are needed
3.Special attention given to universal design
■ Addition of the Childcare Assistance Feature
1.”Baby Station” search
2.”FAQs” (よくある質問) chatbot
The Fukuoka City official LINE account will soon celebrate its third anniversary, and has amassed over 1.65 million registered friends as of March 2020. It not only offers information, but also lets you choose and receive the information you want, report damage to the city’s infrastructure, and prepare for a natural disaster yourself. The LINE Group will continue to add new features as we strive to create an account that helps users take action proactively and realizes our vision of a “Civic Smart City.”
The goal of this redesign was to encourage resident action from a usability standpoint, as well as in terms of the abundance of features that have been added over the three-year verification test period.
Together with gaz, Inc. (a venture design firm located in Fukuoka City’s resident-driven startup hub “Fukuoka Growth Next”), we held interviews with users and monitored their behavior as they used the account. The user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) were then redesigned based on what users did and how they looked at the screen.
Furthermore, a Childcare Assistance Feature has been added to assist busy parents, who can now search for “Baby Stations” (赤ちゃんの駅) when they are out of the house and need to nurse their child or change their diaper. Parents can also get answers to frequently asked questions (such as how to receive childcare allowance or find temporary childcare facilities) based on their child’s age or their household situation from a chatbot.
Moving forward, the LINE Group will continue to undertake initiatives like the Fukuoka City official LINE account that accelerate the realization of our vision of a “Civic Smart City” that evolves through cutting edge technology and the actions of its residents.
[Redesign] Reflecting user feedback to create an account that is “easy for anyone to use”
When planning the account redesign, people from their teens all the way to their seventies were interviewed. Our designers observed these peoples’ behavior as they used the new account to gain insight about how to improve it.
1. Categories have changed from features to resident needs
Until now, the main menu was separated into six buttons (one for each feature). However, the redesigned menu was reorganized into four categories from the perspective of “what users want to know”: “Living Information Search” (生活情報を探す), “Disaster Prevention Information Search” (防災情報を探す), “Infrastructure Damage Report” (道路・公園などの損傷を報告する), and “Select the Information You Want” (受信情報を選ぶ).
To make getting to the information you want easy, the display, options, and links have also been simplified, and the account has been rebuilt to operate intuitively.
2. Based on behavior observation, buttons have been added where they are needed
By customizing the account’s information categories, residential area, and child’s age settings in advance, you can get only the information you choose to receive as notifications. This includes emergency information (evacuation recommendations, etc.), forecast information (PM 2.5, etc.), trash pick-up day notifications for your area, age-specific childcare information, and more.
In the past, there was a button on the top menu for users to select the information they wanted to receive. However, we learned from our behavioral observations that this confused most users because they try to set notifications after they have chosen an information category. There is now a button for users to select the information they want to receive in each of the relevant categories.
With the Home button permanently displayed at the bottom left and links to each category above it, users can navigate the account smoothly.
3. Special attention given to universal design
The goal was to make the account design easy for anyone to see, so the color of icons and text were decided based on color universal design and Fukuoka City’s accessibility standards. The size of buttons and speech balloons were also adjusted.
[New feature] The start of the “Childcare Assistance Feature” (子育て案内機能)
You can access the newly added Childcare Assistance Feature by tapping “Living Information Search” and then “Childcare” (子育て).
1. Search for Baby Stations when you need to change your child’s diaper
With this feature, you can search for Baby Station locations where you can change your baby’s diaper or nurse them. The button is large enough that you cannot miss it even if your baby is crying or being fussy.
Of course you can search for these stations while you are out, but you can also check before going out for peace of mind when you leave the house with your baby.
<How to use the feature>
Tapping “Find a Baby Station” (赤ちゃんの駅を探す) and sending your location will display a list of the closest Baby Stations.
You can also see its operating hours, get a mapped route to the station, and smoothly share the information with your family on LINE.
2. From vaccinations and temporary childcare facilities to childcare allowances, let an “FAQs” (よくある質問) chatbot lead you to the answer
Inquiries that Fukuoka City has received as well as child-rearing information on the city’s home page have been organized into a collection of frequently asked questions by each scenario you may encounter in child rearing.
For example, if you want to know about childcare allowances or where you can find a childcare facility, a chatbot will show you options and guide you to the answer so you can smoothly reach the information you need without having to search for it from the list.
<How to use the feature>
From the “Childcare” menu tap “FAQs” and select the topic you want to learn about from the options below; the chatbot will start guiding you!
• “Pre-pregnancy” (妊娠前)
• “Prenatal” (妊娠中)
• “Childbirth” (出生時)
• “Childcare” (子育て)
• “Preparing for school” (入学準備)
• “Childcare allowances/Preschool, Kindergarten” (児童手当/保育園・幼稚園)
In addition to a simple information summary, the bot will give you links to relevant information on the Fukuoka City home page.
＜About Fukuoka City’s Official LINE Account＞
Following the conclusion of the “Information Provision Fortification Tie-up Agreement” between LINE and Fukuoka City, LINE Fukuoka set up the official Fukuoka City LINE account on April 25, 2017.
The account began as a way for users to select and receive only the information they want by customizing the account’s information categories and residential area settings in advance. It now integrates chatbot technology so that users can get the information they are looking for even more smoothly by selecting the choice that fits them best.
testing, several new features have been officially introduced into the account.
The “Evacuation Action Support” (避難行動支援) feature helps users prepare for disasters and allows them to share
evacuation information with their loved ones. With the “Infrastructure
Report” (道路公園等通報) feature, users can report damage
to infrastructure they find to the city. Users can also find out how to throw
away garbage using the “Garbage Separation Support” (ごみ分別案内) feature, which lets users freely enter garbage types (such as
batteries or pottery) into the message field.
Fukuoka City’s official LINE account is a “Civic Account” that allows residents to smoothly access the information they want when they want it, and actively participate in building a richer, more convenient city as well as way of life, all through simple operations on LINE, a service they are used to.
<Verification testing of other features to be added complete>
Related to our collaboration with Fukuoka City, technical testing of and an investigation into user needs for each of the verification-tested Fukuoka City official LINE account features – Infrastructure Report, Evacuation Action Support, and “Fukuoka Smart Move” (福岡市引っ越し・証明案内) – as well as the official “Fukuoka City Oversized Garbage Reservations” (福岡市粗大ごみ受付) LINE account concluded today (March 31). These features will be officially introduced as of April 1. You can read an outline of each feature below.
■ Three key features of the Fukuoka City official LINE account
– The Evacuation Action Support feature
When Fukuoka City announces an evacuation order in the event of an earthquake or heavy rain, the feature will automatically change from “Normal Mode” (平常時モード) to “Disaster Mode” (災害時モード), supporting prompt evacuation action for users by sharing information when a disaster strikes. They can search for established evacuation shelters and routes, as well as receive guidance about evacuation actions to take for each type of disaster.
Additionally, users can search for an evacuation area’s location and share that information or test Disaster Mode even in Normal Mode. Since the feature is on LINE (a communication tool that many users are familiar with), it is helpful in disaster prevention.
<Accessing the feature after the redesign> Tap “Disaster Prevention Information Search” from the top menu.
– The Infrastructure Report feature
This feature lets users report infrastructure damage such as broken guardrails or damaged park equipment to the correct department in the local government easily from the Fukuoka City official LINE account.
Being able to send pictures of the damage and its location through LINE prevents past problems like inaccurate reports and having to redo work. It also shortens post-processing on the local government’s side.
The feature builds a system that allows more problems to be solved faster. By using this feature together with Evacuation Action Support, it can also be useful for natural disaster recovery.
<Accessing the feature after the redesign> Tap “Infrastructure Damage Report” from the top menu.
– The Fukuoka Smart Move feature
The moving process changes based on various factors like the makeup of your family, as well as where you are moving from and to. This feature reduces the waiting time for residents (and the burden on employees) at municipal offices by having a chatbot guide users to each of the forms to submit and what they need to bring, and giving them a link to the Fukuoka City home page’s online reservation service.
The service has been offered as an independent account since its creation, but in order to reach more users, it was added as a feature in the Fukuoka City official LINE account on March 9, which is the peak of the moving season. <Accessing the feature after the redesign> From the top menu, tap “Living Information Search” and then “Moving” (引っ越し) and “Other Applications” (その他の手続き).
■ The official Fukuoka City Oversized Garbage Reservations LINE account
The official Fukuoka City Oversized Garbage Reservations LINE account (LINE ID: ＠fukuokacity_sdg) lets users request garbage pickups and pay the processing fees seamlessly all on the LINE platform. Verification testing on this account began in September 2018, and it moved into full operation in May 2019.
In July 2019, a new verification test of a feature that allows users to pay the oversized garbage processing fees on LINE Pay began in Chuo Ward. After receiving a 97% user satisfaction rating, the feature became available in all areas of Fukuoka City on January 28, 2020. Fukuoka City Oversized Garbage Reservations contributes to the convenience of residents’ everyday lives and efficiency for the local government. The account is seamlessly connected to the Fukuoka City official LINE account, and can be accessed by tapping Search Lifestyle Information and then “Garbage” (ごみ).
The company behind the new design of the Fukuoka City official LINE account, gaz, Inc. (“gaz”; Location: Chuo Ward, Fukuoka; Representative Director: Yasuyuki Yoshioka), is a startup design firm that was established in June 2019.
The company’s members have an average age of 24, and their office is located in the “Fukuoka Growth Next” startup hub. They do UI and UX design work for web services and mobile apps. In order to realize our vision of a Smart City created through co-creation projects with Fukuoka City residents, LINE Fukuoka became a registered sponsor of “Fukuoka Growth Next” in August 2019, and supports unique ideas and new businesses coming from the city.