Design

API Usability Case Study: openFDA

Aug 22, 2014 |

The API Usability Program brings together developers from agency APIs and the private sector to evaluate how the API can be improved to be more user friendly. Sean Herron of 18F, who was a key member of the openFDA developer team, shared with us some of the major insights gained from this latest API usability session. Read »

Paper Prototyping PTSD Coach

Aug 21, 2014 |

The PTSD Coach mobile app from the Department of Veterans Affairs, provides veterans and users with information about PTSD and professional care, along with self-assessment tools and aid in finding support opportunities. The app has been downloaded over 100,000 times in 74 Read »

Redesigning with Customer Feedback: Child Support Enforcement Usability Case Study

Aug 19, 2014 |

The Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement at the Administration for Children and Families had a visually appealing website after an agency-wide redesign of program websites. The problem: Key stakeholders complained they could no longer easily find needed information. Their feedback prompted us to facilitate a UX-minded focus group to recommend improvements that met both users’ business needs and the redesign goals. Read »

Heat Mapping Case Study: Epa.gov Homepage

Aug 12, 2014 |

Most people relate the term “heat map” with something they see during the weather forecast on the nightly news, those colorful maps that vividly illustrate how hot it’s going to be during an impending heat wave. The word “heat map” may not usually however, conjure up images of a widely used Web usability tool; but for those Read »

Design Sketching: The Easiest Prototype Method Ever

Aug 8, 2014 |

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 Read »

Trends on Tuesday: What’s Your Mobile [App]etite?

Aug 5, 2014 |

In a few short years, the number of mobile apps has exploded, and the time spent on apps continues to increase. However, one thing hasn’t changed: the number of apps individuals use. The average smartphone owner uses 22 to 28 apps in a month, according to new data from Nielsen. Here are a few highlights Read »

Improving Content, Increasing Participation: A NARA Usability Case Study

Jul 18, 2014 |

Over the years, the staff intranet at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) had become increasingly difficult to use. Old, irrelevant content routinely bubbled to the top of search results, and essential employee tools were hard to find. NARA staff agreed that the site was due for an upgrade: fixing NARA@work was voted a Read »

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

Jul 1, 2014 |

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 Read »

Consumer Action Handbook – Usability Case Study

Jun 6, 2014 | ,

The annual Consumer Action Handbook, from GSA, is a guide to making smarter decisions with your money. In both its print and online formats, it includes a compilation of buying tips from across government agencies, updates on the latest scams, and a robust consumer contact directory. But the most popular part of the book is the Read »

CDC’s Digital Front Door Goes Responsive

Jun 5, 2014

Ask, and you shall receive. That was the strategy behind the new homepage from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The new CDC.gov homepage debuted last month with a responsive design that offers a “one-site-fits-all” experience based on feedback from you, the public. Read »

How to Make a Mobile Paper Prototype

May 22, 2014 |

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 Read »

Visualizing Federal Data

May 22, 2014 |

At the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) we have a long history of using data graphics in our reports and congressional testimonies to explain our findings. From photographs, tables, and charts in the 1950s; to computer-generated data graphics in the mid-1980s; to the complex interactive graphics we’re just starting to use this year, our graphics Read »

Defense Finance and Accounting Service Goes Responsive

May 15, 2014

Let’s face it: Some of us work to live. Some live to work. And all of us look forward to pay day. If you work for the Department of Defense, the Executive Office of the President, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Health Read »

GSA Acquisition Portal – Usability Case Study

Apr 21, 2014 |

Incorporating usability testing throughout the entire design process, especially before launch, allows you catch glitches and/or make design changes prior to anyone seeing it live. When more than minor adjustments need to be made to your site, it’s much better to have completed them before the public sees it. For Christina Mullins, a Contracting Officer Read »

NOAA National Ocean Service – Usability Case Study

Apr 14, 2014 |

For a small shop with a small staff, limited time, and a small budget, redesigning a website (and testing that redesign for usability) can be daunting. At least it seemed so to us when we redesigned the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s National Ocean Service website in November of 2013. We met the challenge Read »