Building a Digital Tool Through Co-creation Sessions

The Directorate General of Immigration and Foreignness Services (DGME) is the entity in charge of managing all immigration procedures in Costa Rica.

This institution has been handling all the files physically for many years, which has affected its efficiency in the resolution of procedures, traceability and file consultation.
As a first step, they decided to digitize the procedure called "Executive Registration".
My role
UX Design
Workshop Facilitation Information Architecture
Usability Testing
User Interface


The procedure called "Executive Registration", allows companies to request the temporary residence of their employees and their first degree family members coming from abroad.

So the problem was how might we generate a tool, within the institution, that allows officials to review and manage, the applications of this procedure in a quick and easy way.


This project did not start from scratch, the institution had already worked on the optimization of the process with a consulting company. For this reason, it was important to conduct a stakeholder session to put us in context and avoid rework. In this initial phase we had the following objectives:
  • Learn about the efforts that were made to optimize the process.
  • Roles and responsibilities of the officials involved in the process.
  • Understand the desired user journey for the Executive Registration process.
  • Define the scope, initial requirements and project expectations.

Diagram of the "Executive Registration" process optimized by another consulting company.

Summary of the desired journey that emerged in the first stakeholder session. We decided to work on phase 1 and 2 of the process as a first scope.

User profiles

The user research was a key factor for this project. Each user had to perform different roles and tasks, so their needs and concerns had to be addressed separately. I gathered information from each user to ensure that the platform met the needs of each user profile.

During this process, the “Applicant user” was also studied; however, I will not go deeper into this profile since another project was required to design the platform for this user profile.

Co-creation sessions

Once the research was done, we started working on user flows for the chief and evaluator user profile.  This process required co-creation workshops with stakeholders to reach a satisfactory result. Within the team we had officials from the DGME, a lawyer, a software developer, an expert in process optimization and me as the facilitator.

Notes of the different cases and user flows taken in the co-creation sessions.

User flow

Thanks to teamwork, we were able to eliminate requirements, simplify the process even more, identify new use cases and create an action plan to gradually incorporate these new cases into the flow. This is the final user flow from which I started wireframing.

User flow. It includes the process of sending the application, receiving, reviewing, correcting and resolving it.


Due to the short time, we decided to take as a reference a digital tool that we developed and implemented in the local governments a few months before. This decision allowed us to start from a validated design and reduce rework. With the usability tests, I identified structure problems and confusing interactions. With the feedback, I iterated the design until a satisfactory result was achieved.

Style guide

I created a style guide with all the components and product specifications. This allowed me to create consistency throughout the product, standardize elements and facilitate communication with the developer.

Final result

Adding users and assigning permissions

Add new officials to the platform and assign them permissions according to their role.

Review of the executive's and his family's application

The evaluator has an inbox where he receives all the applications. He can review the documents, request corrections, approve the application and send it to the chief.

Approval and generation of final resolution

The chief of the DGME generates the final resolution where the application is approved or rejected.

Project learnings

1. The power of co-creation
For the success of the project it was key to involve the users in the ideation process. This institution had been working manually for many years and the officials were afraid to start working digitally. In the co-creation workshops they realized all the benefits that this tool would bring to them. At the end they were excited to use it and proud of what they had created.

2.  Ask and ask
This project began with the work of another company. However, during the understanding phase, we realized that there were important scenarios that had not been taken into account. I learned to ask a lot and be suspicious of the data and information I receive when I start a project.
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