Potential Use Cases for Digital ID

A research project that identifies the different use-cases of Digital Identity

This case study covers the research brief, methodology, synthesis, key research insights gained, and key challenges faced for the project.

The brief: Understand the users and identify non-obvious use cases for a Digital IDFor this project, we were asked by our client, the Government Technology Agency of Singapore ("Govtech") to:

Explore scenarios & use cases that a Digital ID can unlock, that a physical card cannot.


The Government Technology Agency of Singapore ("GovTech") is currently developing a National Digital Identity framework for people to transact with public & private sector organisations seamlessly and securely. This is one of the 5 major priorities for the Singapore Government's Smart Nation vision. Similar efforts have been undertaken in India and Estonia, but as Singapore is beginning to its own efforts to build out NDI, we needed to discover local user needs & use cases.

The Team

The project team consisted of a 3 man team: Elaine, Brenda and myself.

We collaborated with Govtech's design research team over the course of 3 weeks to come up with recommended potential use cases.

My Role

My role within the project was a UX/UI designer. Beside participating in the research. I produced the different sketches for the potential concept for the Digital ID. For the final deck of presentation slide, I crafted the concept of the overall deck design and create mini ICs to communicate the different emotions to our clients.

Different ICs to represent different emotions.

Research Methodology

Qualitative user interviews  -  11 conversations with people at various life stages over 5 days, across various locations of Singapore.

Ethnographic observations  -  3 of us spent a day going out to do guerrilla observations at various sites. Observing how people use their identity cards in everyday situations.

The Goal is

  • to understand their how/when/where/why do people use their identification cards, and
  • their attitudes and perceptions towards identity, digital transactions, and the role of institutions in these transactions

Research Synthesis

There were many observations, learnings, and memorable quotes we have gotten from our research. And we spent quite a while on doing this affinity mapping as we had many different ideas on how we did the groupings.

Key Insights

Two of the key insights that informed our potential use cases were: An illustration of Singapore's current pink IC

First Insight
 the challenge with the physical card's form factor is users can choose to either "show all, or nothing".

One of our interview participant had to send over a photo of this ID as part of an online booking process. He told us that he had used his thumb to cover over certain information he felt the booking agent didn't need to see.

This led us to the creation of a digital wallet that a user could select different information needed for the particular transaction and it is generated into a QR code. In our concept considerations, we could also have preset cards made available for generic use cases.

A low-fi illustration of how users can create their own digital card to share certain information.

Second Insight
 most of the senior interviewees assumed a Digital ID would be able to track their location and they are comfortable with it. They hoped that their loved ones would be able to use it to also monitor their whereabouts.

To illustrate this insight we create a storyboard of how a new physical Digital ID card that when used with various location sensors (e.g. public transport, clinic registration points etc). This would provide authorised caregivers with an update of when/where the card was being used a tracking proxy.

In this story, when Grandma uses the Digital ID card is as a fare card on public buses, a notification is sent the authorised caregiver to update her care-receiver's whereabouts.

Our Challenges

  • Most people use their ICs for the same few transactions, which was mostly to exchange for security passes in order to enter a building. Given that most users had similar experiences, this made it difficult for us to go for breadth of observations. With more time, we would have pivoted to recruit more specific interview participants.
  • Connecting their attitudes and perceptions to Digital ID use cases was a challenge we faced in the research synthesis stage. We realised mid-way through our interviews that our discussion guide was great at getting getting attitudinal responses. But during the user interviews we struggled in pivoting the conversations towards uncovering user problems.
  • Challenge in observing digital use cases, we went out into the wild to do field observations, we wanted to see how a Digital ID could replace a physical ID card at different touchpoints. While still useful, if given more time, we would probably have re-scoped this portion of the research to be a contextual inquiry of how users currently perform specific digital transactions.

Story by Elaine Tan. Edited by Aaron.

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