The Latvian Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development (VARAM) in cooperation with Riga Stradins University organised a usability test of the alpha version of ACROSS digital platform for cross-border services. The test took place on 13 October 2022 and attracted 16 full-time foreign students in Latvia from Germany, UK, Luxembourg, and Austria. After performing a short task in the platform, students were asked to fill in surveys and engaged in discussion with project team from VARAM both on platform functionality and their personal moving experience.

The alpha version of the platform has been developed for the evaluation of basic functionalities in the provision of cross-border online public services. Students had to focus on the ability to freely grant/deny permissions to use their data, create a mobility scenario and choose the services offered. The service invocation was not tested yet as it is intended to be functional for next releases of the platform in 2023. Students recognized that the initiative and platform is very valuable for receiving information and handling services. They saw a potential of it becoming a useful tool for those who want to study abroad or move temporarily or completely within EU for any other reason.

Students shared their experience about difficulties obtaining various private and public services in Latvia, especially in situations when there is no residence permit or locally issued eID card. Often information is not available in English or other language of preference. Overall, students validated previously identified gaps from other ACROSS co-creation activities and desk research.

The main outcome of the event was evaluation of initial technical components and functionalities as well as additional user requirements gathering. The information obtained during the event was aggregated and transferred to the project’s technical partners for the improvement and development of the ACROSS platform.