in collaboration with Ministry of Manpower Singapore (2014)

In December 2013, Ministry of Manpower (MOM) opened a gallery space to replace physical counters at the Bendemeer Service Center. With the information gallery and brochures, MOM intended for customers to self-help. It was to better differentiate treatments for general enquires and the urgent ones, reducing the waiting time of customers as well as manpower costs spent responding to general enquiries. However, customers were often overwhelmed by the gallery and failed to read the brochures. They visit MOM Services Center to seek face-to-face assistance and assurance on their vague understanding of MOM’s policies and processes. As a result, they form natural queue lines around mobile service staff, instead of paying attention to the information gallery. They still require service staff to attend to them and have to wait for a long time.

NUS Division of Industrial Design, MOM Customer Responsiveness Department (CRD) and Behavioural Insights and Design Unit (BDU) launched a collaborative project to tackle this issue by applying service design. The project aimed to enhance self-help for customers, improve customers’ satisfaction with MOM front-line services and MOM’s manpower efficiency. 


Our team identified a severe bidirectional communication barrier in Ministry of Manpower’s customer relations with Work Permit Holders. We hence approach this design opportunity in two phases — pre-visit and visit.

For pre-visit, our concept is to “bring MOM closer to the workers”. An e-kiosk that focuses on bringing self-help services will be placed in areas where the workers frequent. It enables pre-screening, resolving general enquiries on the spot, whilst helping those that require more assistance to book e-appointments and prepare necessary documents. 

As for the visit phase, our concept aims to bridge the language barrier between staff and workers to enable efficient two-way communication. A communication toolkit was thus designed for use at the cabana area in Hall A. The toolkit aimed at addressing salary and work permit issues in a logical sequence. Our final design, after much iteration and user testings, includes a single book that houses 3 main languages spoken by workers and 2 minority languages.


Project by Chew Jia Ying, Iris Tan & Iliana Ishak 


‘Handy Helpers’ is an information card game that contains gamified contents of the top 10 FAQs foreign workers may encounter while working in Singapore.

There are two kinds of cards in a ‘Handy Helpers’ pack, mainly the ‘Question card’ and the ‘Solution card’. Each ‘Question card’ represents a possible problem that foreign workers might face. It is accompanied by a set of ‘Solution cards’ that will provide a step-by-step guide to solving the problem. In order for these foreign workers to easily understand the information, these contents are reframed to ones that are needs based and are further supplemented with illustrations.

Project by Mabel Low, Lim Simin & Hong Ling Yang


Our design is focused on making self-help more effective at the Ministry of Manpower’s Hall A Gallery through implementing a redesign of the area and various complimentary touchpoints to decrease the need for employee assistance and better the customer experience. 

These touchpoints include a self-help kiosk which directs customers to the right area in the gallery, segregates customers who need urgent attention and also prints out a check-in slip with the history of the customer’s selections so MOM employees can attend to the customer’s problem quickly and efficiently. 


Project by Yiseul Shin, Lim Xinyuan, Mao Yitian