a man applies for financial aid

Reykjavík City • Digital financial aid

Skip the hassle. Greater service.

Municipal financial aid is usually a last resort within the welfare system. One could argue that applicants are usually at a difficult point in their lives when applying for such assistance. Up until now, these difficult situations have not been taken into consideration during the application process, and applicants have been asked to provide an excessive amount of certified documents, after which they have to wait for results while not knowing if their case will move forward in the system.

a woman waits for a bus

The applicant comes first

Digital financial aid is a revolutionary project within the city of Reykjavík. A decision was made to let the needs of the applicant guide the process. To meet their needs and expectations it was decided to not only make the application process available online but to redesign the entire user experience and let other aspects of the process follow suit.

The project not only entailed designing and developing a good experience, but to help Reykjavík city employees adapt to a new way of working and change deeply rooted rules, traditions and processes. This was all done to put the user first and focus on the optimal applicant experience.

Quick and effective development.

design sprint
work desk

Strong vision defined

To begin with, a big emphasis was made on understanding the service by interviewing applicants, looking at how service centre employees work, analysing goals and expectations etc. All this information was then combined with the city‘s goals to build a clear framework for the work ahead. 

Consequently, a team consisting of service specialists from the city of Reykjavík and development specialists from Kolibri performed design sprints which provided results that formed the core of the new and improved financial aid service.

Flexible and fast product development

A strong vision and clear direction enabled the product development team to quickly design and develop solutions for both the applicants, as well as the employees that handle the applications. Continuous user testing provided valuable input during development. This article (in Icelandic) dives deeper into the design and development process.

Key statistics

The project took 8 months. Of which one month was dedicated to a Discovery process, which included research built on user empathy, understanding goals and design sprints for leading vision. The product development phase took seven months and included cloud infrastructure, launching of an application and processing system and over 50 new working versions to users.

Increased convenience.

screenshot of admin ui
screenshot of admin ui

Less hassle means better service

Today the applicant doesn‘t have to spend time and energy on understanding the basic principles of the service and how it works. They don't have to stress over service centre visits or conversations with the service representative. Now the applicant only has to sign in using their digital ID and answer a few simple questions, after which they get an answer right away which explains their next steps.

Furthermore, the service team does not have to process paperwork by hand; scan, photocopy or type into computers, or repeatedly explain complicated processes to applicants. The time saved can be used to provide better welfare service and support applicants in a way that can help them get off financial aid and stand on their own feet.


Web App

„This years web app is a major innovation which is accessible and human at the same time. The ambition behind the project is clearly noticeable, but this is a web app that is crucial to its users. The app’s flow is simple and user-friendly. An exceptionally well executed solution.“

The Icelandic Web Awards Judging Panel 2019.

„Kolibri has supported the city of Reykjavík in various projects during their digital transformation process. A development team from Kolibri assisted us inhouse for eight months, during which time we developed a digital application process for financial aid. The collaboration was a great success, everything went according to plan and Kolibri‘s contribution did great things to improve our work culture.“

Þröstur Sigurðsson, Head of Digital Reykjavík