User Testing & Research

Creating a Veterans-Centered Experience Through ExploreVA

May 1, 2015 |

Good customer service includes user-centered design. For one digital team at the Department of Veterans Affairs, creating a veterans-centered experience started with one word: explore. The ExploreVA website provides a single location for veterans and their families to research the benefits that they may be entitled to receive. Benefits include health care, education, employment, and Read »

Focus Groups: Are They Right for You?

Apr 17, 2015 |

The short answer is: it depends on your goals. If you Google “focus group,” you will have a host of positive and negative feedback, but the truth is that it depends on what your needs are. What Is a Focus Group? Focus groups are an inexpensive way Read »

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

Apr 6, 2015 |

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 Read »

CareerOneStop’s Newest Online Resources: Targeted to User Needs

Apr 2, 2015 | ,

When the Employment and Training Administration’s CareerOneStop team embarked on a redesign of the site’s online career, training, and job resources, they didn’t dive right into the technical work. Instead, they embraced a user-centered approach that focused on the user experience (UX). Focusing on UX means taking a step back Read »

Usability Design for Kids: Things Federal Workers Should Know

Mar 24, 2015 |

I used to teach 8th grade science in inner city Denver in the 1990s. After that, I supported special education students and their teachers in North Carolina. Around that time (mid-late 1990s), the Internet wasn’t really designed for kids –most of the electronic materials I Read »

Getting Started with Usability Testing

Mar 19, 2015 |

At the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), our new open data policy will begin making more Agency-funded data broadly accessible to the public. It completely changes the way we do business, and it also means that in the coming years, the amount of data we Read »

At Last: User Experience Performance Descriptions!

Mar 17, 2015 |

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, Read »

GoodGovUX Addresses UX of IT Contracts

Mar 13, 2015 |

How do you define user experience (UX)? That was the question posed to more than 100 people at the GoodGovUX event at the Artisphere in Arlington, Virginia, on February 24th. Attendees learned how government can improve the user experience of digital products, from Read »

The Usability ‘Aha!’ Moment: How to Turn Cynics into Converts

Mar 6, 2015 | ,

User Experience (UX) is the comprehensive experience a person has when using a product or application, and usability is the ease of use (or lack thereof) when using it. Many of us have discovered the vast advantages of evaluating usability on our own; however, getting others to jump on board is often a different story. Read »

Persona Development Case Study: NCI and Spanish Language Outreach

Mar 2, 2015 |

Government websites need to address the needs of diverse audiences. Although translations are a first step towards engaging non-English speaking audiences, the intended audience may be alienated if information is not presented in a culturally relevant way. The Read »

Top Task Usability: Design for Your Users

Feb 6, 2015 |

Being able to design a website that users love is not too far away from being able to read their minds. While designers can’t read minds, that doesn’t stop them from using their website’s top tasks to make it seem like they can. A website’s top tasks include 5-10 tasks (depending on the scope of the Read »

7 Ways to Ignite User-Centered Design at Your Agency

Jan 27, 2015 |

So you’ve done a couple of usability studies, and a few people are starting to “see the light.” Now you’d like to take it to the next level and help your organization embrace user-centered design (UCD) as the philosophy that drives all your digital projects. But what is best way to do this? How can Read »

Past, Present, Future: Usability Testing at the National Library of Medicine

Jan 2, 2015 | , , ,

Usability testing has provided our organization many important insights to improve our Web presence. Since the early 2000s, the National Library of Medicine (NLM)’s Web teams have actively sought and used usability testing tools; we have run “full service” usability testing almost yearly for various Web properties Read »

Using Focus Groups to Make Better Videos

Dec 29, 2014 |

There’s what you expect your audience to think, and then there’s what your audience is actually thinking. Sometimes, these can be entirely different. But, you won’t know unless you test it. For the release of the 2014 Consumer Action Handbook (CAH), the Federal Citizen Information Center’s marketing team piloted a series of videos. The videos Read »

Making Prototypes with Tools You Already Have

Dec 19, 2014 |

They say that necessity is the mother of invention. For me, the necessity resulted from long product development cycles paired with short windows for user testing and little room for iteration. The “invention” was the discovery of a powerful set of tools for prototyping that are available on just about Read »

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