New Hukoomi app offers easy access to 300 government e-services

by  — 12 July 2015

With Qatar having smartphone penetration of over 80 percent across all key demographics, the government’s new app is expected to bring all key e-services to your fingertips, reports M. Iqbal.

In the first five months of 2015, the number of unique visitors to the Hukoomi website has already surpassed a million, and this figure is expected to exceed 2.2 million by end of this year.

The recently-launched Hukoomi mobile app is expected to make it easier for people to access 300 e-services that the Qatar government’s portal currently offers.

It is available across all major smartphone platforms in Qatar – iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone.

Speaking at the launch of the app, Tareq Alemadi, e-government portal department manager, said, “Statistics show high mobile Internet penetration in Qatar; something that pushed us to design the Hukoomi mobile app for people to enjoy smoother access to government services and information.” 

Smartphone penetration across all key demographics in Qatar as identified by the Ministry of Information and
Communication Technology (ictQatar) is 80 percent or above. About 92 percent of households in Qatar have a smartphone. These are the users that ictQatar wants to target with this app.

Although the adoption level for the app has been slow since its launch in the second half of May, the developers hope this will improve. Google Play on Android estimates that the app will have downloads between 1000 and 5000. Apple does not make download statistics available to the public, but it stated the app did not receive enough user
ratings to display an average. This is indicative of low number of downloads on the Apple platform. Android and iOS are currently the two most popular smartphone operating systems. 

In 2014, Hukoomi received just less than 1.8 million unique visitors to its portal. In the first five months of 2015, the number of unique visitors has already surpassed a million. If this trend continues, the number of unique visitors to the portal will exceed the figure of 2.2 million in 2015.

According to ictQatar estimates, around 76 percent of Hukoomi’s visitors log on to the portal through desktops, whereas 24 percent come through mobile devices. If these ratios remain unchanged in 2015, about half a million people will access the Hukoomi portal through their mobile phones, most of them through smartphones – a trend which points out there is a significant potential for growth.

Alemadi describes the app as an extra interactive channel between Hukoomi and its users, targeting faster and easier access to e-services and information.

The app itself is laid out in a grid of seven categories – News, Events, Map, Directory, Apps, Feedback and Services. Many of the categories are self-explanatory, with News and Events giving an overview of everything that the government’s various arms are doing. The Apps section lists all the official apps. The Map section is designed to find your way around Qatar, even if the points of interests defined on it are not as extensive as, say, Google Maps.

Another very useful section in the app is the Directory, which gives you comprehensive access to contact details of various Qatari ministries, government agencies, public services and other government organisations. You can also get details of Qatar’s embassies in other countries.

However, what people are expected to use the most is the various services that Hukoomi offers. This section could use a little refinement as currently it acts as a container for the web portal. Every time a service is selected, the entire page
loads up, which one then has to zoom in on to read.

The apps layout is different from the portal’s mobile website, which itself can serve as a good starting point for the developers to draw inspiration from. The mobile portal offers quick access to the most-used e-services such as checking the status of a visa or paying fines for traffic violations, something the Hukoomi app currently does not offer. The new portal offers around 900 services now, out of which 300 are e-services.

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