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The great communication catch-up: Is Singapore SimplyGo-ing too fast?

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Empathy for the generation divide and user behaviour patterns may need to be studied more as Singapore digitalises itself rapidly.

Synopsis: Every second and fourth Monday of the month, The Straits Times takes a hard look at social issues of the day with guests.

The hard deadline for full transition from an older card-based ticketing system to the account-based SimplyGo public transport payment system by June 1, 2024 eventually went away. This is after public outcry over SimplyGo’s inability to display fares and card balances at fare gates and bus card readers. 

Such negative reactions have raised questions how impactful nationwide policies, like the adoption of SimplyGo, can be better communicated to the public. And is a one-size-fit-all approach even possible for Singapore’s rapidly ageing population that must constantly overcome the first hurdle in adapting to technology? 

ST podcast editor Ernest Luis and assistant podcast editor Lynda Hong host two guest speakers in this episode:

Associate Professor Helen Ko from the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) for her insights on ageing issues

Ms Neeta Lachmandas, founder of ConsciousService, a training and consulting company, and also a former executive director of the Institute of Service Excellence at SMU and assistant chief executive of STB.

Highlights (click/tap above):

2:33 Technology and convenience versus customer experience and communication

4:55 Selling people the upside on digital policies as well as how to handle major changes; was this just an issue for the 'older' generation?

8:05 Tailoring "instructional design" - the art and science of teaching seniors

11:25 Understanding the need for bite-sized info in small steps across older generations, "empathy" in designing public policy for an increasingly ageing population

18:08 Contradictory "digital transformation" messaging not an issue exclusive to only Singapore

20:45 Why it's good to aim for "universal design"; why seniors are a highly diverse group

Produced by: Ernest Luis (ernest@sph.com.sg), Lynda Hong (lyndahong@sph.com.sg) and Hadyu Rahim

Edited by: Hadyu Rahim

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