Services and Transactions

Simplify Online Services

Help citizens quickly perform transactions & use online services via simple, secure web forms that walk citizens through each step of the process. Some considerations are: - Identify the steps involved for front end users in completing online transactions - Optimize each step of the workflow (user creates an account, validates account, fills out form, submits form). Where to put instructions? How many fields are optimal? ...more »

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Usability and Design

Optimize user paths

Before re-designing an existing site or beginning the design or development of a new site, determine who is going to be using the site and what they will be trying to do there. Optimize the site organization and user flows for easy and frustration-free accomplishment of their primary tasks/goals in using the site.

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Content and Readability

Differentiate between ephemeral and evergreen content

Some content remains valid for a long time, and serves as an ongoing resource. Other content primarily serves the purpose of providing an update, but becomes dated and inaccurate quickly. Consciously consider the differences and act accordingly. I've seen it happen time and again where really solid content that has been carefully crafted for a long life gets drowned out by press-releasy stuff because they are in the ...more »

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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

Fail on Paper!

I recommend a robust discovery and design process that emphasizes user-centered interaction design best practices.

 

Research-informed user-tested high-fidelity wireframe prototypes - that's the point in development to identify usability issues and adjust. Fail on paper, as it were, not post-launch!

 

'Getting it right' before engineering may require a greater time investment up-front, but it pays off.

Submitted by (@corey0)

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30 votes
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Content and Readability

Enable easy ranking/satisfaction of content

Make it mandatory that all pages/content be enabled with a simple satisfaction rating of that page/content. Perhaps using the 5 star rating. Current ACSI surveys are too bulky and limit the number of responses (13% response rates are "good"). A simple "Was the content on this page helpful?" or similar would be more effective and could be mashed-up into dashboards for measuring individual author, subsite, search engine, ...more »

Submitted by (@cjguru)

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29 votes
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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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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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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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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).

Submitted by (@stevekrug)

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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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