Increasingly organisations are moving their processes online as it’s quicker, more cost effective and efficient. With a more streamlined user experience, life becomes much easier for the consumer. At the heart of this digital transformation is the concept of a digital identity. By having trusted transactions, the consumer can feel safe whilst shopping online.

Innovate Identity have been working closely with the Open Identity Exchange (OIX) and a number of providers including the DVLA, PMA, Timpson, Photo-Me, HMPO and GDS to discover some real world test cases for a digital ID photo sending service.

The DVLA alone processes more than 3.5 million photos a year and when added to the passport office, that makes it around 9.8 million photos. This project wanted to look at how an identity document (driving licence or passport) compliant photo taken offline could be made available through online processes. The idea being to streamline the customer journey and simplify the processes and risks associated with data sharing.

The aim of the project was to draw up principles by which photos could be shared, with user consent being at the heart of it. We wished to explore the user journey for digital photo and a digital photo sending service and also identify any user concerns.

Currently the process for applying for a driving licence or passport is very manual. It involves numerous forms and the additional postage costs. It costs both the individual and the recipient organisation time and £££s. It’s estimated that by moving from face to face transactions to online would take the cost from £15 per person to around 17p. Not a cost saving that can be sniffed at, especially as all government departments and organisations are having to tighten their belts.

It was vital as we were researching the user needs that we considered their privacy concerns, how secure the processes were and what the commercial drivers and the blockers were.

The feedback from the project was very positive. The users found it very easy to take and send the photos and indicated that you didn’t need to be technical. They loved the fact that it saves a lot of hassle and called it ‘dummy proof’.

“It’s a piece of cake….quick and easy. I’ve got to say I’m not the greatest techno geek but I found it easy.” Steve, 58

There were a number of conclusions that can be drawn from this project, even though sample sizes were small.

1. The new process was simpler and more convenient compared to paper processes
2. The customer journey is vital to ensure they finish their applications. Clear understanding of the process is critical
3. Users expressed a need for choice, from where they can have the photo taken (be it at a photo shop or even themselves) and including options on how to receive the code for example by email, text or immediate print out.
4. Being able to use the photo multiple times would be beneficial for users and users saw the value of the image in the physical photo rather than the process itself.
5. Users took comfort that their photos resided with government, in this case the DVLA, as they trusted the government with their information.

All in all the project was very successful and we hope in the future that a nationwide digital photo sending service will be as simple as saying ‘cheese’!

The full report is available to read.