Strategy & Policy

The Data Briefing: I, For One, Welcome Our New Chatbot Blockchain Digital Autonomous Organizations

Jul 6, 2016 |

It is at the intersections of fields where you find the most fascinating and innovative concepts. Recently, a conference on “Open Human Resources and the Cognitive Era” explored the use of chatbots and blockchain technologies in human resources. Human Resources (HR) is quietly undergoing a revolution as many HR practitioners are transforming HR by using Read »

Build Empathy With Stakeholder Interviews, Part 1: Preparation

Jul 1, 2016 |

A few weeks ago, the State Department held its first conference dedicated to user experience design, UX Exponential. The conference organizers invited me to speak, and in this two-part series, I’d like to summarize (as best as possible) the presentation I gave, “Foster The People: Building Empathy with Stakeholder Interviews.” In this post, I’ll cover Read »

WCMS and Custom APIs—Which One Is Right for You?

Jun 28, 2016 |

Gray Brooks of GSA gave us a great definition of APIs in the DigitalGov University (DGU) presentation, Introduction to APIs. He described APIs as “Application Programming Interfaces, or APIs, are web services that allow people to more easily consume content and data in multiple ways—via mobile devices, mobile apps, innovative mash-ups, and much more.” Simply put, Read »

Using Plain Language to Bridge the Gap Between Government and Industry

Jun 23, 2016 |

Much of our work with government partners to deliver better digital services has resulted in full websites, applications, and embarking on large-scale transformation efforts. In addition to those types of projects, we also work on shorter, faster, smaller-scale projects designed to show our partners different points of view and different techniques to approach their most Read »

The Data Briefing: NASA’s New Big Data Strategy

Jun 22, 2016 |

Few other federal agencies deal with as much data as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Big science creates big data, and NASA manages many of the biggest science projects in world history. Even in the early days of NASA’s history, NASA pioneered new ways to create and store data. So, in the world Read »

How to Make Your Facebook Content ‘Pop’ with Images

Jun 20, 2016 |

Facebook is a highly visual medium. Studies show that Facebook posts featuring photos are the most noticed, liked, and shared. Posts featuring an image stand out in the news feeds of people who like your page. While a great image can cut through the clutter, you don’t need to fill your feed. Think “representative” and high-quality Read »

Modernizing Federal IT Part 5: Modernizing Software Architecture

Jun 16, 2016 |

This is the fifth in a series describing how the Social Security Administration is working towards a more modern IT infrastructure. You can find part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here and part 4 here. In the next three posts we will consider the problem of modernizing old legacy software. In this post we will start a Read »

The Great Pinterest Experiment: One Year In

Jun 13, 2016 | ,

Last summer, Kids.Gov revamped its presence on Pinterest in an attempt to find new ways to connect with its followers. The Marketing Team set out to learn more about our audiences and the kind of content they like. Despite being a difficult platform to navigate, we set lofty goals for ourselves and developed a timely Read »

Taking an Agile Approach to Content

Jun 10, 2016 | ,

So, you’ve recently joined an agile team — congratulations! Here at 18F, we work in an agile way — in other words, we base our designs on user needs, conduct usability testing, iterate quickly, and release MVPs (minimum viable products) rather than highly finalized releases. We take an agile approach to content too. While there’s Read »

Welcome to the New DHS.gov

Jun 9, 2016 |

Today, I am happy to announce the newly optimized DHS.gov website. Over the past year, DHS has worked behind the scenes to update and modernize our flagship website, making it faster and easier to use. Some of the specific differences you’ll see are: Compatibility for both desktop computers and mobile devices (phones and tablets) Cleaner, Read »

Help Search Engines Help You: How SEO-Friendly URL Structure Can Boost Your Rankings

Jun 3, 2016 |

Have you ever wished you could get inside the mind of Google? To figure out what makes its search engine tick? How great it would be if that were easy to do. Well, actually it is. I realized that recently when I was doing research for one of my personal passions, which is finding invasive Read »

Open Data Democratizes Innovation

Jun 2, 2016 | ,

Americans Use Public Data to Improve the Lives of Fellow Citizens Data is one of our most important national assets. It informs our policy and our national priorities. But as we have seen time and time again, the most effective way to govern is to engage with the public directly. Thanks to the President’s Executive Order requiring Read »

The User-Centered Redesign of IdentityTheft.gov

Jun 1, 2016 |

I first came across the redesigned IdentityTheft.gov on Reddit, of all places. Someone had posted a link to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) newly redesigned site and wrote: I hope this never happens to any of you as the entire thing can be really stressful. The identitytheft.gov website is a true breath of fresh air…You Read »

Kids.Gov Reenvisioned

May 23, 2016 |

At USAGov, we always put our customers first. In the wake of our rebranding efforts, our desire to create a positive user experience across the organization has pushed us to turn a scrutinous eye toward Kids.gov — a site focused on providing information and resources to parents, teachers, and kids. In a cross-organizational effort, individuals Read »

The USAGov Bilingual Style Guide Is Now Online!

Apr 14, 2016 |

About a year and a half ago, the Federal Citizen Information Center—today called USAGov—embarked on a very ambitious task: integrating our content operations. We blurred lines that defined silos and adopted a bilingual content approach to offer a more consistent experience, regardless of language preference or point of access to our information. See more about Read »