Designing in the Open Training Recap

May 16, 2014

During the recent redesign of, the team developed a process that helped them respond to public feedback, track the actions and hold themselves accountable. In a DigitalGov University webinar, “Designing in the Open—Public Participation in Government Web Design,” Phil Ashlock, chief architect at, and Jeanne Holm, evangelist, shared how integrating feedback from virtual, online and face-to-face testing, as well as across multiple social media platforms, helped dramatically change the design in the response to the needs of their users.

They created an open forum on GitHub that tracked all the feedback, opened it for public discussion, clarification, and allowed the team to continue to iterate and develop this open source platform. This allowed the team to use the same process for tracking bugs internally and issues coming from the public, which helped build trust with the public, so they see they’re part of the core process being used to design the site.

Here are some tips that have helped them deliver better service to the public:

  • Make everything transparent, including team conversations and debates
  • Create an issue for all feedback from any one, any time, any where
  • Open the conversation and invite people to the dialog
  • Find a solution with the public…better yet, let the public find or create the solution
  • Make it a promise (put it in a build)
  • Deliver on the promise
  • Rinse and repeat-we are delivering new builds every month

You can learn more about about those tips and’s journey in changing the idea of redesigning websites in the government by watching the video below.


You can also read more about’s iterative, constantly evolving feedback process. It’s ongoing and everyday, all the time, from anywhere.

This article is part of this month’s editorial theme on the Digital Government Strategy. Check out our recently published article Because It’s Hard, and check back for more articles related to this theme in May.