How FSA Revamped Their Online Presence with Mobile Moments in Mind

Dec 17, 2015

Let the mic drop!

Mobile moments are created with the expectation that an app can stun the crowd. Do not let your audience down; they may never come back. Federal Student Aid (FSA), in an effort to provide better customer service, decided to build a mobile-responsive website.

Kaegy Pabulos, a Borrower Experience Specialist and project manager for, described this as a challenge because of the need to combine over 12 different websites into one access center. A recent webinar with DigitalGov University showed how FSA’s work touched on Mobile User Experience Guidelines 4 and 5 as they continually tested their site and collected data to analyze how improvements could be made.

Testing should be done at every point in the development process and feedback should be taken from every possible outlet, Pabulos said, including social media and analytics. While testing, Pabulos recommends using actual devices rather than mobile emulators because that helped FSA see exactly where the issues were when moving to different content. He also suggested using free or inexpensive tools to help with testing. In acknowledging that almost 1/3 of website users come in through mobile devices, Pabulos has seen the demand among FSA’s audience for consistent updates—which starts at the testing process.

Federal Student Aid website homepage

Initially, using wireframe models, FSA thought a timeline design inspired by popular social media apps would be pleasing to their audience. Then, as time progressed, the block setup became more popular, so FSA decided on a combination setup. Pabulos recommends providing usage tips that appear after updates take place; this helps transition users to the new setup and provides an easier experience.

Every month, FSA dives into user feedback to analyze trends and brainstorm improvements. When developing mobile sites, Pabulos advises to “mobilize, don’t miniaturize” because creating a mobile site is not simply making a desktop experience smaller, but creating a true mobile moment.

You can watch the entirety of the webinar in the video below, or jump to Kaegy’s presentation at 25:08.