Photo:Jonathan Rubin

Jonathan Rubin

News and Events

42 posts

At Last: User Experience Performance Descriptions!

To improve your digital systems with user experience (UX), you need people. And to get people in government, you need position descriptions. While DigitalGov has collected a wide variety of position descriptions,
Mar 17, 2015

Why Your APIs Need Design Help

Anything built should be built right. It doesn’t matter if it’s built of wood, carbon nanotubes or code. So it’s encouraging that the practice of User-Centered Design—getting customer feedback at every stage of a project—is catching on with
Mar 16, 2015

Can You Crowdsource Your User Experience Research?

In one sense, almost any type of user research is crowdsourced—you’re talking to people and using that information to improve your system. But in a true sense, crowdsourcing is more than just collecting information, it’s collaborating on it. We want to have real conversations, not one-time emailed suggestions without followups. So here’s a few tidbits
Dec 09, 2014

Results: 2014 Federal User Experience Survey

The cream of the crop of the top of the mountain of ALL of the surveys I run has to be the Federal User Experience (UX) Survey. It’s the second time I’ve had the privilege of running it with Jean Fox, research psychologist extraordinaire from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. When I start thinking about learning
Nov 21, 2014

World Usability Day 2014 theme: Engagement

There are many buzzwords thrown around in the digital government universe, but the most impactful ideas are rooted in one action: engagement. Whether it is a tweet, a mobile app, or a community of practitioners, every digital program or service requires interaction between an organization and its customer. Engagement is also the foundation of all
Nov 13, 2014

Welcome to User Experience Month!

One challenge with digital government: it’s hard to see people. If you work at a U.S. Post Office, you interact with your customers, talk with them, and even see what they are feeling by looking at their faces. You can understand their experience fairly easily. In the digital world, technology decreases physical distance but increases
Nov 07, 2014

National Cancer Institute Launches New User Experience Lab

Why does a Cancer institute need a User Experience lab? Simply put: To learn about their customers—people living with cancer and those who care about them—and build the best possible products with them in mind. “Cancer has a journey and we wanted to create a
Sep 04, 2014

Design Sketching: The Easiest Prototype Method Ever

When it comes to Web and software design, the pen(cil) is often mightier than the Design Suite. What I mean is: Tech is cool, but don’t fall under its spell. It’s often when you remove the technological layers between you and your thoughts that the best ideas sprout. You’ve heard of great ideas that started
Aug 08, 2014

508 Accessible Videos—Why (and How) to Make Them

Making Web content and video accessible to people with disabilities is the law. Ensuring a video is accessible requires planning. Taking steps from day one will save you time and money. To verify that a video is accessible you’d need to incorporate three elements: Captioning Audio descriptions An Accessible video player Why Accessibility Matters Many government
Jun 30, 2014

508 Accessible Videos – Use a 508-Compliant Video Player

When you watch a video on your computer, the window that displays your video is called a “video player.” It usually has start, pause, and other buttons. You might not be aware that you’re using a player at all—you just watch your video. A fully-accessible video player (e.g. Section 508-compliant)
Jun 30, 2014

508 Accessible Videos – How to Make Audio Descriptions

What are Audio Descriptions? Audio Description, also called descriptive video or video description, is an additional audio track that describes and gives context for essential visual information. Audio Description makes videos and multimedia accessible to people who have “low vision” (very poor vision), or who are blind, by capturing what
Jun 30, 2014

508 Accessible Videos – How to Caption Videos

What are Captions? In a video, captions collect all audio information and describe them using text. They include not only spoken content but also non-speech information such as sound effects, music, laughter, and speaker identification and location (for example, audio spoken off-screen). Captions appear transposed over the visual elements in
Jun 30, 2014

Using Visual Content to Drive Engagement

You’ve probably noticed the trend toward more visual content being shared across social platforms—pictures, infographics and how-to videos seem to be popping up everywhere. We certainly noticed that trend across several government social media properties, so when
Jun 23, 2014

How to Make a Mobile Paper Prototype

What if a single piece of paper could make your mobile app work 20 percent better? It’s hard to imagine something as unimpressive as paper influencing our 21st century smartphones, but it’s true. Well before we get into the design and coding phases, we can show customers
May 22, 2014

Sign up For DigitalGov Citizen Services Summit, Friday, May 30

We won’t build the government of the 21st century by drawing within the lines. We don’t have to tell you the hard work of building a digital government doesn’t exist in a vacuum or a bubble. Show us social media without mobile, Web without data and user experience without APIs. You can’t? That’s right—in reality,
May 19, 2014

What Is a “Terms of Service” and How Do I Get One?

Imagine this: You just found a great online tool that can help you do your federal job 100% better. You’re all ready to download it and start conquering the world when someone asks, “Have you checked the Terms of Service?” You’re not sure what they’re
May 13, 2014

Make Gov APIs Better with User Experience

APIs and User Experience go together like gummi bears and ice cream. An API is a product just like a car, a website or a ballpoint pen. It’s designed to help someone do something. Products
May 09, 2014

FDA Consumer Graphics – Usability Case Study

User testing isn’t just for websites—it’s for any product that has an audience. Which is everything, really. And that includes print materials, signage and infographics as well. Focusing on the User Experience is especially vital for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is committed to effectively communicating about products that affect the public
Apr 09, 2014

Kids.gov – Usability Case Study

For a children’s site, Kids.gov is pretty old—it was launched back in 2001. And it has the unenviable task of trying to keep pace with the rapidly changing online habits of youngsters. So in 2012, Kids.gov Director Arlene Hernandez thought her site was due a usability test with its two main audiences: kids and their
Apr 02, 2014

Data.gov – Usability Case Study

We all know listening to your customers is important. Not just reading their comments, but talking to them, actually getting in a room with them, and having them test your product. But if basing a whole-scale redesign around one series of user conversations makes you nervous – it should. That’s because sometimes when we listen,
Mar 18, 2014