Why projects are assessed

Any Ontario government project that involves creating or improving a digital service – whether in-house, or through vendors – needs to meet the Digital Service Standard throughout its development.

The Ontario Digital Service has created a digital assessment process for two main reasons:

  1. as a consistent way to evaluate digital services against Ontario’s Digital Service Standard
  2. to guide and support teams with the right tools and advice so their services:

Your first step

Your first step is to contact the digital assessments team if you:

  • are starting a new digital service project
  • have already started a new digital service project
  • are not sure if your project will need an assessment

We’ll set up a meeting to discuss:

  • your project
  • the problem it’s trying to solve
  • the team that will be working to solve it

When projects are assessed

You’ll show your work to your assessment team at the end of each phase in the digital service design cycle. The phases are:

  1. Pre-Discovery – when you identify the problem you are trying to solve and the team that will work to solve it
  2. Discovery – when you do the research to understand who uses, or will use, your service and what they need
  3. Alpha – when you create and test your prototype
  4. Beta – when you apply what you’ve learned in the previous phases to build and refine your service so it’s ready to go live

If your project is already underway, don’t worry. We’ll work with you on a plan to get it on track to meet the Digital Service Standard.

Who assesses your progress

A team of three to five people will assess your progress.

We pick people to be assessors because they understand who and what is needed to create user-centred digital services. Your assessment team will include experts in disciplines that are relevant to your service (for example, a product lead, experience designer or technology lead).

What to expect at assessments

Each assessment is an opportunity for your project team to show off its hard work and for the assessment team to give feedback and make sure your project’s on track to meet the Digital Service Standard.

Before the assessment

We’ll send you a list of questions that you’ll need to submit before each assessment.

During the assessment

The assessment team will expect you to:

  • show the work you’ve done for that phase
  • answer questions about what you’ve done to meet the standard
  • explain what you plan to do next

At the end of the assessment, we will give you an Assessment Note that includes the result of your assessment and details how your service aligns with the Digital Service Standard.

Training and key resources

The Ontario Digital Service is currently developing training sessions for service delivery teams and vendors on what they’ll need for their project to meet the Digital Service Standard.

We’ll post training session information here as soon as it’s confirmed.

In the meantime, please contact the digital assessments team with any questions, and check out our library of resources that can help get you started: