Faster Passport Renewals

We worked with the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs to design a streamlined passport renewal experience, supporting an unprecedented demand for applications.


Almost 1,000,000 people renew an Irish passport every year, with 70% of applications now being made online. Xwerx provided UX consultancy and design expertise to the Dept. of Foreign Affairs and Trade during a recent upgrade to the online renewal service.

A key requirement was to simplify applications for minors in the context of stringent guardianship and child protection rules. Through collaborative workshops with the client and the development team (Action Point Technology Group), we designed a seamless application process for users.


We had to create a design flow for an online service that is used by hundreds of thousands of users each year. The rules around proof of guardianship for child-based renewals are complex and we had to ensure that this complexity didn’t surface to the experience.

The child’s identity and the guardian’s consent had to be physically evidenced by an approved witness, requiring us to connect the online experience with a task to be undertaken in the real world. Clever information flow and clear instructional design were critical aspects of the overall experience.

Client feedback

“The user testing methodology which Xwerx undertook was objective, comprehensive and insightful. The recommendations from each round of testing moved the experience closer to what our customers needed and served as the foundation for what has been a very successful programme of work.”


  • Design sprint at the start of the engagement to determine high level goals in a broad-based, collaborative environment.
  • Persona development to isolate different user categories.
  • Rapid prototype development to create a number of user flows for consideration by the project team.
  • Several rounds of user testing to validate our proposed approach for a streamlined online renewal process.


The new online experience has been supported by faster back-office processing, underpinning the surge in passport applications that the organisation has seen in recent years.

Through collaboration with the programme team and a rigorous user testing framework, we created a streamlined design flow that is used by thousands of people every day.

The project received positive feedback in the Irish Media. It also scooped the Grand Prix at the UX Awards in 2019, celebrating achievement in the Irish user experience sector. The initiative also won the Promoting Ireland Overseas Award at the eGovernment Awards, 2019.

What we did

User research
Facilitated workshops
User testing
UI Design
Accessibility audit
Front-end development