Simple remedies could include categorising information on websites for easy digestion and consideration. Filters could be narrowed to help people make more accurate decisions by cutting out information that isn’t relevant. These two things make information easier to process and leave only the relevant information to actually process – they make each decision less taxing on your brain.
Automation is another step we can take to reduce decision making stress. It works by taking data, comparing it and providing conditions for action – for example: if this person lives in postcode area X, text them at 6 pm on a Tuesday evening with the message “Put your green bin out, garden waste is being collected tomorrow morning.”
The principles demonstrated in the Government Gateway program can be applied to local authorities. The Gateway gives users an I-D that allows them to carry their information over between services, saving them the frustration of entering the same data over and over again into different systems.
Think back to moving house. Data, which in this instance would be your name, address and NI number; wouldn’t change between signing up to pay for your council tax and registering to vote, so arguably there’s no need to enter it twice, but it’s something citizens are required to do. This could also be taken a step further – the data could easily be used to automate something like the communication between local authorities and citizens such as text alerts to prompt you to take your bins out (we got this idea from Falkirk Council) or to alert you to any relevant community schemes happening in your area.