Michelle Chronister

Michelle Chronister is the User Experience Team Lead for USA.gov at the U.S. General Services Administration. Prior to this position, she managed web content, search, and social media for USA.gov. Michelle has a BA in anthropology and a MS in library and information science. She is a former Presidential Management Fellow.

Informing the Future of the Federal Front Door

In our last post, we introduced the Federal Front Door project and briefly described a six-week discovery phase, in which we set out to better understand how the general public feels about and interacts with the federal government, so that we can design and build products that improve people’s experience across government agencies. We think

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Journey Mapping the Customer Experience: A USA.gov Case Study

Journey maps are a visual representation of a customer’s end to end journey with your product or service. They are a powerful tool for exploring key interactions and experiences with your organization, programs, and/or services. Journey maps describe a customer’s entire journey, even the parts that occur before and after contact with your organization. They

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Using Personas to Better Understand Customers: USA.gov Case Study

Personas are fictional characters that describe an organization’s customer behaviors, emotions, attributes, motivations, and goals. They are an important tool to share customer insights and understanding across an organization. Personas also serve as a check to make sure your organization’s actions meet the needs of the majority of customers, including visitors to your website, contact

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Go.USA.gov Creates Short, Trustworthy .gov URLs

Short URLs are useful for tracking clicks, but they can create a poor user experience because the person clicking the link can’t see the final destination. That’s why Go.USA.gov was created—to show users that they would reach official government information. To maintain this trust, Go.USA.gov is only open to government employees and only shortens government

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Using Analytics to Create Change: USA.gov Usability Case Study

While many people tout the death of the home page, it’s still an important piece of the user experience on USA.gov. In 2013, 30 percent of all sessions on USA.gov included the home page—that’s 8.67 million sessions. The numbers for GobiernoUSA.gov are even higher—79 percent of all sessions included the home page. According to Jakob Nielsen, “A

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New Go.USA.gov Features: Search Your URLs, Add Notes, New Bookmarklet, and More

You can now log in to Go.USA.gov with your username or email address, one of the new improvements added to the government URL shortener. Previously you could only log in with your username. You can now: Log in with your username or email address Search your short

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Gov URL Shorteners and How to Use Them

USA.gov offers two different types of URL shorteners – 1.USA.gov and Go.USA.gov. No matter which URL shortener you use, there are some usability, accessibility, and SEO issues you should keep in mind. 1.USA.gov 1.USA.gov is powered by bitly.com and open to everyone. If you go to bitly.com and shorten a

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Understanding Your Users’ Needs By Analyzing Search Terms

Analyzing your visitors’ search terms can help you better understand their needs. It can provide valuable data about the content and organization of the content on your site. Create a Semi-Automated Report of Terms Here’s how to create a semi-automated report for analyzing large amounts of search data on a regular basis. A human still

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Better Performance and Metric Downloads Now Available From Go.USA.gov

A few weeks ago, the Go.USA.gov URL shortener introduced several new features to improve the user experience. Go.USA.gov now offers users faster speeds and downloadable metric information about their links. The service, which launched in 2009, gives government agencies the ability to provide trustworthy shortened links to their audience. Just

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What We’ve Learned: Three Years of Answering Questions on Social Media

USA.gov and GobiernoUSA.gov have been engaging with the public on social media long before Mayor Cory Booker underscored the need at this year’s SXSW. In January 2010, we began to respond to questions and comments on our Facebook and Twitter accounts. We never advertised the service, but people naturally

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How Kids Search

Kids and adults use Web search tools differently. Kids fail more often, because they often don’t have enough knowledge or experience to search using the right keywords, or understand search results. If you’re designing websites for kids, remember that they use search tools differently than adults. Kids prefer surfing over searching.

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