Update / 27th July 2019
It has been more than a few years since I wrote this article, and I’ve also moved on to another team within GDS. Many things have changed; what you’re reading here is just a snapshot of the past. If you want to find out more about DCUBE, it’d be a better idea to chat with someone still in their team rather than me, as I’ve been out of touch for quite a while.
DCUBE: Digital Design & Development
Hey there! We’re people of DCUBE, a part of the Government Digital Services group in GovTech. We’re made up of tight-knit squads that comprise designers, developers, project managers and quality engineers.
Together with our dear sister teams in Hive—Data Science Group (DSG); Agile Consultancy & Engineering(ACE); Applications Infrastructure(AI); Emerging Technology(EMT), and Geospatial Team—we partner with other government agencies to deliver apps that serve Singaporeans.
Ready to know more about us? Hang on tight for a wild ride!
Why we work
When we first heard that the myResponder App helped save a life, warmth filled our hearts and cheers filled our halls. The labour we endured dissolved into sweet satisfaction. This is why we show up at work. It thrills us to know that the very work of our hands has the ability to touch lives.
We share the same vision for a Smart Nation, a nimble and progressive nation equipped with a keen ability to harness technology for the betterment of Singaporeans. We’re working hard every day to make this a reality, designing and building stuff that make an impact on you.
How we work
Being multi-disciplinary means that each and every squad does all these things in-house:
- UX (User Experience) Design
- UI (User Interface) Design
- Software Development
- Quality Engineering
We work in an Agile environment and practise co-location where designers sit beside developers while working on the same product, allowing for a more fluid process.
Now, if we claim to develop citizen-centric apps and fail to listen to and act on citizen feedback, we would be the biggest hypocrite in town. To find out what citizens think about a product and how they use it, we employ a slew of UX methodologies to get data. This includes conducting usability testing sessions where we invite citizens down to our Digital Experience Design (DXD) lab—equipped with eye-tracking technology—to experience using working prototypes of the product in its early stages. This helps us to ensure that what we build at the end of the day is useful and usable.
Putting something you made out into the world is a nerve-wracking experience. Would people like it, or hate it? We know that we cannot bank on the kindness of Singaporeans to accept whatever we make. People are busy, and they hate having their time wasted.
The only thing we can trust in is that we have done our best, and there is no excuse for not doing so. Given a choice, we would choose the pain of hard work over the pain of regret. Every single time.
We constantly work on the cutting edge, and it’s exhilarating. There is a never-ending stream of new and shiny technologies that we have to learn, evaluate and appreciate. Unfortunately, sometimes this also means getting cut by the blade of technology advancement; when things change so quickly, months of hard work could be swept down the drain in the blink of an eyelid. Unproven technology needs to be rigorously tested before it can be used reliably in public service.
Nonetheless, we’re more than willing to take the risk and experiment with new ideas and technology, hopefully helping other public agencies to adopt them to better serve Singaporeans.
The things we do and make describe who we are. We understand deep within us that there simply is no replacement for hard work. When people hold a product in their hands — beyond looking at its aesthetics and functionality — they would ask, “who made this?”.
Our job is to make the very best products that we can. Every day we are reminded of the gap between what we envision and what we made. We are most aware of the flaws and imperfections of our work, more than anyone else. We spar with partnering agencies a lot to make sure only the best ideas surface to the top, to the best of our ability.
Here are some of our work:
Developed in partnership with Municipal Services Office (MSO), OneService automatically routes feedback on municipal issues submitted by the public to relevant agencies.
Developed in partnership with Singapore Civil Defence Forces (SCDF), myResponder notifies app users of nearby Cardiac Arrest cases, so that they can render first aid before ambulance arrival.
Developed in partnership with Ministry of Finance (MOF) and Our Tampines Hub (OTH), CitizenConnect Centre+ is developed for citizens who do not have computers or internet connection, as well as people who need help using Government e-services.
Our UX team is looking to engage citizens even more in our processes. As mentioned earlier, we invite people to test our prototypes or provide their opinions and perspectives on some of our ideas. Anyone can join us in our journey of creating impactful products for the Singapore public. If you’re interested, click here to fill in a short form and join our pool of participants.
Also, drop us a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about us!
See you soon! ;)