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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Policies and Principles

Go big or go home!

Web managers may walk away from this discussion with the intention of applying one or two of these suggestions to an existing site design. Those web managers will just be wasting time. The way forward is an extensive review of your users needs and your agency's mission, and the primary way you organize the existing and future data and applications presented on your site. Anything less is just nibbling at the edges, ...more »

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Content and Readability

Better Gov web-site structure

I would like to see a hierarchical structure set up so that a "drill down" approach could be used. At the top is the "government" node, then next is the 3 branches. Under the legislative branch would be two nodes for the house and senate. Under each chamber would be a listing of the bills that are in process, and a list of recent passed bills. I would like to know how my representatives voted on each bill. This ...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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Accessibility

Universal Design for Learning

The principles and guidlelines of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) should be applied to Federal website design. UDL will ensure that the broadest range of uses will be able to access and gain knowledge from Federal websites. Universal Design for Learning takes the concept of Universal Design one step further. In addition to focusing on physical accessibility (e.g. text to speech, accessible word or pdf documents) it ...more »

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Content and Readability

Easy to make repairs

In studying the usability of websites by under-educated individuals we have found that the site has to make it easy for a user to make repairs - correct themselves when they wind up somewhere they didn't want to be.

Repair skills of a user have to be matched with linguistic tools, visual and navigation aids that help in this process.

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Usability and Design

Do not strand the user

Every time an action can be taken, provide the link next to the information, not somewhere else on the page. If there is software required, provide the link to download the software. For instance I am on the patent office site and there is a missing plug-in. It shows the logo of the missing plug-in but not the name of the product or a link to get to it. Without even having the name I can't search for the plug-in. This ...more »

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15 votes
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Policies and Principles

Make every website usable by "Average Joe Americans"

Many of the publically available websites are designed for "insider wonks" not for "Average Joe Americans" -- example being the query sites to access government documents where you need a PhD and read a 1000 page "how to" document before you can figure out how to query for what you need. Another example being trying to figure out how to download historical weather data from NOAA -- which appears to be set up to meet ...more »

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Usability and Design

User-Centered Design

There is a process by which web-sites and on-line transactions are made efficient, effective, and satisfying to the user. It's called user-centered design and is successfully executed by qualified user-experience professionals.

 

Ensure that all Federal agencies are equipped with the resources and processes to implement user-centered design into their software development life-cycle.

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Usability and Design

Group like content, improve readability, scanability

Government websites are very outdated, and even the ones that have had redesigns recently still feel very clunky. Contrast is good, agreeing with Section 508. Most, if not all of the sites boast solid darks on lights which aid in readability, however, leading (space between lines of text) is very tight in many cases. Paragraph spacing should be consistent. Headings should be consistent. Links should be clear, and also ...more »

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12 votes
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Usability and Design

Build a mental model to organize by task, not by govt viewpoint

The average citizen may not know the department or the process name or the bulletin number that applies to them. Do a full mental model process to understand user tasks and goals and organize government sites according to these goals and tasks. use the nuances learned of citizen attitudes and concerns to guide the feel and messaging for the site.

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