Usability and Design


What can we do to improve the usability, navigation, and design of federal websites?

Usability and Design

Use Personas

"Personas are archetypal users of an intranet or website that represent the needs of larger groups of users, in terms of their goals and personal characteristics. They act as ‘stand-ins’ for real users and help guide decisions about functionality and design." I'm seeing a lot of posts about user task analysis, user path analysis, user centered design.... but nothing about personas. No, a good persona won't replace usability ...more »

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Usability and Design

CrossPost: Policies and Users

http://web-reform-dialogue.ideascale.com/a/dtd/Take-a-Closer-Look-at-Priorities/84309-4097 and here is my comment: Real life example...my SIL was just hired by VA. She has never been a govt employee. I have been one for over 20 yrs. She called to ask what the FEGLI, FERS, TSP, and OASBI was on her pay stub, because she wants every dollar she can get and wants to get rid of these 'things' that are being deducted. I ...more »

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Usability and Design

Scenario focused dialogue

Web design is a complex task especially when your users range the scale from non-technical to web savvy, great design comes from understanding this customer base. Building persona’s that represent the 4-5 typical users of the site. Then building the information architecture which comprises of the information to be rendered and a meaningful way to categorize it. When you combine focus on the user, the data, and bring people ...more »

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Usability and Design

Applying for SSDI

I am computer literate. I just tried to help someone apply online for SSDI. It took us around in circles. The only info it took was name, SS# and email. It had no option for continuing online. When we actually clicked the "Continue Application" it wanted his SS# and the application number. It never gave us an application number. How is one supposed to do these things online when it is totally unclear how to proceed.

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Usability and Design

Allow people to cc one email to many politicians, agencies

If I want to sent an email to all politicians it would take hours and hours or days to cut and paste my comments to each one. It would be much easier if we could just click on all the politicians and departments that we want a copy of the email sent to all at once. This way I could click on each senator and each congress persons name and have a message sent to all federal elected officials at once as the issue may be ...more »

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Usability and Design

Access to specific rules

The method of finding specific rules, if you know which one you're looking for, is complicated and counter-intuitive. The search process looks promising, but instead just returns a large mess of results that do not often include the result I'm looking for

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Usability and Design

Improving Federal Websites

Key is to really understand the people who are coming to the Website: their needs and what they are trying to find/solve. Also, need to use Plain Language as simple and possible and make sure the pictures and visuals reinforce the content. Lastly, look at Best Practices among the Federal Sites. There are really good ones HealthyPeople.gov contains many layers of content but the user does not feel overwhelmed or get ...more »

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Usability and Design

Effective Use of Regulations.gov

The idea behind regulations.gov is great and important. Getting the public involved does start with a way for us to get involved. That being said, the site, while a great start is daunting to navigate effectively and post what one may feel is a meaningful comment. This is not Federal Court, users shouldn't have to use a PACER-like docket interface. Commenters want to come, see what's going on, see what's been said, ...more »

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Usability and Design

Issues Pertaining to Usability

There are several aspects of regulations.gov that could be improved. First, although the website offers links to the pertinent portions of the NPRM, the cite lacks a plain language summary of the rules. It is conceivable that users will not find the text of the NRPM helpful in clarifying questions they may have about a proposed rule. Offering a plain language summary, in addition to the NPRM, could enhance both user ...more »

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Usability and Design

Effective Public Use of Regulations.gov

Making proposed rules, comments, and other documents available on Regulations.gov is a good first step to public accessibility. However, there are usability issues that make this access ineffective for the average user. Documents themselves should be more readable. It may seem petty, but the current font is outdated and unreadable. Updating to Times New Roman or another font that users are more familiar with will ...more »

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Usability and Design

Telephonic Menus

Too often when contacting a Federal Agency the response is a menu which leads to another and another, etc. In particular, those of us who call from abroad from a country in which the toll-free number is not toll-free tend to spend much more to finally obtain sought-after information (maybe). Where possible, a response by a real person is the solution!

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Usability and Design

Provide user assistance when a search provides a null result

This is a cut/paste of a search result message (that was buried) on a HealthIT.hhs.gov site: Your Search Results: Showing 1-0 of 0 Products Found First of, it would be impossible to show 1 - 0 products when zero were found. Second, instead of that poorly worded message, government websites search should user plain language to tell them that there search did not yield any results, and should make a suggestion that ...more »

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