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‚Äôs 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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Simplification

I think that www.regulations.gov is a great first step at making rulemaking more accessible to the general public. In its current form, however, I think the site and the documents are probably only navigable by people who have above average knowledge about either the agencies or the rulemaking process. I tried to approach the site today as if I were someone who had just heard about a rule, perhaps in passing on the ...more »

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Content and Readability

Keep it simple

The value of a web site is not only its content but in ease of accessibility and movement throughout the site. There is nothing more frustrating than to maneuver unsuccessfully and waste precious time in the process.

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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

Usable with Any Browser

Some federal websites have been designed to work with specific browsers. Websites should be viewable and usable with any browser on any operating system. For example, one DOT website is only usable with Internet Explorer. Individuals who typically use Firefox or Chrome or any other browser are forced to download and use IE. Mac users are out of luck.

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Usability and Design

Every Agency Should Have UX Expert on Staff

I know, budgets are tight, layoffs are imminent, non-professionals can do simple product tests, but does your agency have a budget analyst? A configuration manager? A security specialist? In America, what we value, we pay for. If an agency says that that good customer experience is a business priority, it must have a UX professional on staff. Period. Even contracting for a usability vendor is difficult without a UX professional ...more »

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Usability and Design

Get UX professionals to volunteer pro bono expert reviews

A nice chance for the UX community to give something back [to this great land of ours].

 

The truth is, there's so much low-hanging usability issue fruit in most Web sites (not just .gov), that any halfway decent professional could produce a very helpful review with very little effort (as long as they didn't cave in to writing a big honking report).

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Usability and Design

Organize by customer type then topic

I have an investment account with a firm whose website first asks if I'm an individual or a business. I have a savings account with a bank whose website first asks which country I live in and if I'm trying to do credit card, savings, checking, loans, etc. I looked up some medical information on the CDC website and it had separate areas for the general public and medical professionals that stemmed from the same page. ...more »

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Usability and Design

Establish design values for the online citizen experience

This is a great effort but it's just targeted at a relatively generic "better". The government needs to understand citizens' needs and expectations online. Broad-based user research should be conducted and used to inform a set of design values that all dotgov online experiences could aim toward. At first blush, I'd suggest: Respect: for the user's time and effort, for their status as an owner of the website (!), ...more »

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