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GSA Customer Experience Hackathon 2019

A day focused on designing a better customer experience with and within government

Wednesday, June 19, 2019 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM ET

In Person

A card with the title of the event and an illustration of multi-colored blocks.

The General Services Administration (GSA) is holding a coast-to-coast hackathon on Wednesday, June 19, 2019, aimed at bettering the customer experience (CX) of products in government.

Improving customer experience is a top priority throughout the federal government, as described in the President’s Management Agenda. Customer experience can refer to the external customers and internal customers. This hackathon, we will be focusing on both. The participants will be including the newly-released U.S. Web Design System 2.0 in their solutions.

Throughout this all-day hackathon, taking place simultaneously at eight GSA locations nationwide, participants will evaluate real-world products and iterate on ideas for making the customer experience better in GSA applications.

  1. Boston, MA details
  2. Chicago, IL details
  3. Ft Worth, TX details
  4. Kansas City, MO details
  5. New York City, NY details
  6. Philadelphia, PA details
  7. San Francisco, CA details
  8. Washington, DC details

What Is Customer Experience, and What Does This Mean for Government?

Customer experience is the journey a customer has while interacting with products and brands. CX has gained a lot of attention within government, and our aim is to better the customer experience for external and internal interaction with government agencies, products, technology and people.

Hackathon details

Who Is Invited

GSA seeks application developers interested in user experience (UX) to participate. Please note:

  • Federal employee cannot participate
  • Federal grantees may not use federal funds to develop competition solutions unless consistent with the purpose of their grant award.
  • Federal contractors may not use federal funds from a contract to develop competition applications or to fund efforts in support of a competition entry.

The goals of this day are to:

  • Work on GSA Applications that’ll make an impact across government in a short amount of time
  • Meet other practitioners
  • Have fun

Schedule

10:00 am to 3:00 pm Hacking time!
3:00 pm to 4:00 pm Round 1 presentations and judging, winners announced
4:00 pm to 5:00 pm Round 2 judging, winner announced

A full schedule for the day will be posted in the coming weeks.


What We’ll Be Hacking On

Participants will be hacking on applications that are core to GSA operations. Your ideas will help these services to have a greater impact in government.

You’ll be hacking on one of four GSA applications:

1: GSA IT Service Desk

Description of the Challenge: GSA’s implementation of the internal IT Service Desk is hosted by ServiceNow’s self-service portal. This application is not easily navigable or aesthetically appealing. Overall, the customer experience is lackluster. Users are reluctant to use the portal. Feedback indicates that users feel the service catalog items, request submission forms, and mechanisms for reporting IT issues are not intuitive.

Hopeful Outcome: Our goal for the Hackathon is to receive recommendations from developers and designers that reflect a responsive, mobile-friendly, pixel-perfect user interface(s) to improve the customer’s experience in one or more of the challenge areas identified above.

Solution should incorporate the following characteristics:

  • Useful: Content should be original and fulfill a need;
  • Usable: Site must be easy to use;
  • Desirable: Image, identity, brand, and other design elements are used to evoke emotion and appreciation;
  • Findable: Content needs to be navigable and locatable;
  • Accessible: Content needs to be accessible to people with disabilities; and
  • Credible: Users must trust and believe what you tell them

Think outside of the box, the ServiceNow platform can do practically anything, use it for something we haven’t seen before! Lastly, remember to have fun!

Skills Needed: ServiceNow Developer tools, Java-script, AngularJS, Rest APIs

Datasets to Use/Need: ServiceNow Developer Portal | View

2: Federal Real Property Profile Management System (FRPP MS)

Description of the Challenge:

The FRPP Mapping Application is a map of the properties gathered through GSA Office of Governmentwide Policy’s Federal Real Property Council. The award winning site is used by Congress, several federal agencies and the public and has extremely high visibility. The task is to make the 300000+ dataset that feeds the application easy to visualize and analyze on a map. This user guide has been prepared for assistance in using the map.

The current application has been dubbed difficult to use for the following reasons:

1 — Tools on the map are not intuitive. The users are immediately faced with the map screen and given no instructions on how to access the data. Such tools include the Filter tools (above the left panel and the left panel itself of the map) and Layer Display tool (directly to the top right of the Filter tool). Please see image below for tools used in the FRPP map and the initial application view.

Screen capture of the tool, displaying what is described in the text above

2 — Most of the map data cannot be displayed until a user is an appropriate degree of distance from the ground. This is a limitation purposely imposed to increase performance, however the user has nothing to communicate the situation. Please, see the images below for explanation. The left image is at the extent (or starting position) of the map the image on the right is at an appropriate distance from the ground to view data.

Screen captures of two images displaying what is described in the text above

3 — The use of the Filter tool is confusing to users. On the below image on the left, you will see a query initiated on the Disposed View assets. The query doesn’t assist the user to build it, all data values are simply presented to the user to complete the Filter form. On the below image on the right, the user is not guided to how to perform the Spatial Query. They would need to make assumptions on the function’s behavior and/or learn to use it via trial and error.

Screen captures of two images displaying what is described in the text above

Hopeful outcome: Our goal for the hackathon is to receive visually appealing design recommendations to redesign the user interface of the FRPP map/application. We would hope the recommendations would be in the form of a web page with Javascript code accessing the underlying FRPP dataset so as to be easy to apply to the public facing application.

Skills needed: ArcGIS Online, REST, JavaScript (Esri’s JavaScript API) to interact with maps/map data via Esri’s components (developer can feel free to use a different mapping environment), Any web based scripting language for any other gui components.

Datasets to you’ll need: Access the 2017 FRPP public data set:

3: Acquisition Gateway

Description of the Challenge:

The Acquisition Gateway is the workbench for the federal acquisition professional. We provide market research tools, pricing data, federal acquisition best practices, and a way to connect with others in the federal acquisition space. As part of the Hackathon, the Gateway is soliciting contestants to provide a “chatbot” or other automated response solution which efficiently answers user inquiries related to how to best utilize the Gateway and/or direct users to information/applications most useful to their query. Contestants will be provided with sample queries/responses and relevant limitations/needs from our development team necessary to facilitate future integration with the Gateway platform.

Types of questions for the chatbot to answer:

  • How do I do X on the Gateway?
  • What is available on the Gateway?

Chatbot parameters (must haves):

  • Compatible with our Drupal/Angular/SOLr environment
  • Meets GSA security requirements
  • Presents a friendly, even quirky vibe yet also be professional (e.g. not Clippy)
  • Features a robust back end UI for managing questions and answers
  • Expandable - Looking forward it could support the FAS Digital Experience initiative or be repurposed in other ways

Chatbot Parameters (nice to haves, post MVP):

  • Consistent with GSA/FAS Branding
  • Linked to NCSC/Salesforce to provide one source of common queries
  • GTM capable
  • Expandable into instant messaging within Community

Inspiration Example:

USCIS “Emma” Virtual Assistant (Thanks to Peter Nguyen for the suggestion) https://www.uscis.gov/emma

Hopeful Outcome: Our goal for the hackathon is to have a working prototype or MVP chatbot/automated response solution based on open source software and capable of being incorporated into the Gateway Platform.

Skills Needed: Knowledge of open source “chatbot” technologies

Potentially helpful - Drupal, Angular JS, Angular 7, SOLr

Description of the Challenge:

HRLinks is a Human Resources Management System that supports the General Services Administration (GSA), the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), National Credit Union Administration(NCUA), RailRoad Retirement Board (RRB) and numerous Federal Boards and Commissions. The system is COTS based PeopleSoft with very little customization. GSA is looking for improvements to the navigation and User Interface to the HRLinks environment.

Hopeful Outcome: Our goal for the hackathon is to obtain a wireframe or working prototype of proposed improvements to the navigation and User Interface for an internal process.

Skills Needed: The current system is built in PeopleSoft. Due to the nature of the environment we are unable to release code. Instead we will be providing a quick demo and screenshots of the processes we hope to improve. The participant can use any tools at their disposal to produce a wireframe or working prototype in order to show Ui/UX improvements.

Cash Awards

GSA anticipates awarding four cash prizes, for a $20,000 total prize purse: four application-specific teams will be selected in the first round of judging to be eligible for a cash prize of $2,500 and move onto Round 2 judging. Of those, one solution will then be selected in Round 2 judging, and a $10,000 grand prize will be awarded that team, for a total of $12,500. Team application projects will be evaluated in accordance with the judging criteria outlined below.

Prizes will be distributed to the eligible winners via Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), within 60 business days of the announcement of the winner(s). GSA will distribute the funds evenly to all team members listed in the original registrations who arrive at the Security Desk at their respective locations for the competition start time of 10:00am ET and stay for the full day (10:00 am - 4:00 pm, ET). Funding for this hackathon will come from GSA.


How Judging Works

Round 1 — Each team will have an equitable amount of time to present their solutions to a judging panel of 3 to 4 federal employees and the other teams until all teams have presented. After Round 1 judging is complete and winners are announced, the winners of Round 1 will move on to Round 2 judging.

Round 2 — During Round 2, one winner will be selected by a federal executive judging panel and announced at 5:00 pm, ET.

All presentations and judging will take place virtually through video conferencing software and equipment provided by GSA, and in-person at 1800 F St NW, Washington, DC 20405.

Registered participants at the eight GSA locations nationwide will be evaluated equitably and there will be no advantage given to participants who are in-person at 1800 F St NW, Washington, DC 20405 .

Presentations

Each team will present to a judging panel their solution for up to three minutes. In Round 1, each pool of competitors will only present and be judged against the same problem set. The judges will be evaluating each solution as if they are the application user. The round will be judged based on the following criteria with each judge independently scoring the solution on a scale of 1 to 5; for more information, please see the Round 1 Judging Form.


Scoring

The judges’ scores will then be calculated into a weighted percentage as detailed below. The highest scoring solution in each problem set will be the winner.

Usability — 45 percent

All instructions and text are in plain language and written in terms that all customers can understand.

  • It’s clear to the customer where to go to accomplish the task.
  • It’s easy to find help when the customer needs it.
  • The customer can accomplish the task independently.
  • The customer can accomplish the task efficiently.
  • The customer isn’t distracted by the layout of the environment or application.
  • The new additions to the application follows the new U.S. Web Design System 2.0, to the extent feasible.

Emotional Response — 40 percent

  • The customer looks forward to completing a task in this environment or application.
  • The interaction makes the customer feel valued.
  • The customer feels supported when they need help.
  • The customer’s experience is seamless when moving between systems, people, and other touchpoints.

Two-Way Feedback — 15 percent

  • Customers know the status of their task.
  • Customers can give feedback on their experience.
  • Customers can see the impact of their feedback.
  • Customers are informed about what’s been done with their feedback.

The four application winners will then move onto Round 2 judging. Round 2 judging will consist of 3 federal employee judges and will be conducted virtually using GSA-provided videoconferencing software and in-person at 1800 F St NW, Washington, DC 20405. Registered participants at all eight GSA locations nationwide will be treated equitably and there will be no advantage given to participants who are in-person at 1800 F St NW, Washington, DC 20405. Each team will be presenting their solution to a judging panel for up to five minutes.

In Round 2 judging, the pool of competition will be the four application-specific winners from Round 1 judging. The judges will be evaluating each solution as if they are the application user. The round will be judged based on the following criteria with each judge independently scoring the solution on a scale of 1 to 5; for more information, please see the Round 2 Judging Form. These scores will then calculated into a weighted percentage as detailed below. The winner will be determined by averaging all federal employee judges scores and calculating the highest scoring solution:

Use of design best practices to improve usability and emotional response — weighted at 50 percent of overall score

  • The new additions to the application follows the new U.S. Web Design System 2.0, to the extent feasible.
  • All instructions and text are in plain language and written in terms that all customers can understand.
  • The customer’s experience is seamless when moving between systems, people, and other touchpoints.
  • The customer isn’t distracted by the layout of the environment or application.

Creativity and Innovation — weighted at 30 percent of overall score

  • The solution provides an innovative approach to solve the issues presented
  • The solution provides a new solution to the issues presented
  • The solution promotes a collaborative environment

Technical Capabilities — weighted at 20 percent of overall score

  • The solution is written in open-source software
  • The solution is feasible in the current environment
  • The solution adequately addresses the issues presented
  • The solution can be easily integrated with the application

Details by Location

The competition will start at 10:00 am, Eastern Time, simultaneously nationwide. All registered participants must arrive at their designated hackathon room location by 10:00 am, ET (or local equivalent) to be eligible to participate in the competition and win a prize.

While the hackathon starts at 10:00 am, ET, participants should plan to arrive early enough to go through all security protocol, gain entry into the building, and get settled for the day prior to the start.

All participants must register in advance and check in with security and sign with the Protective Security Officer (PSO) upon arriving at the applicable GSA location. A U.S. government-issued ID, such as a valid driver’s license or passport, is required to gain access into the building, and must be presented to the PSO upon arrival. Visitors will be issued a one-day GSA Visitor Badge which must be returned when departing the building. All visitors must pass through the magnetometer, and their possessions may be x–rayed. A GSA employee must escort visitors through the hallways at all times.

For each GSA location, building entrance information and room numbers are provided below for registered participants’ convenience. Participants register for the hackathon and receive confirmation in order to access the appropriate building.

What to Bring

  • A government-issued ID — you will need to go through security
  • Your own laptop and power cord
  • Headphones
  • Personal water bottle, if desired
  • Your own lunch, if desired - the hackathon schedule does not provide for a dedicated lunch break, so if you prefer to work through lunch time, please bring your own lunch. It will be time-consuming to go in and out of the government buildings

Boston, MA

Thomas P. O’Neill, Jr. Federal Building
10 Causeway St, Boston, MA 02222
View map
Capacity: 60

Local hackathon run-time: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm, Eastern Time (ET). Participants should arrive no earlier than: 9:00 am. Public hours to the building are 7:00 am - 5:00 pm.

Special instructions: Participant will follow all security procedures stated and be escorted by a hackathon representative to Conference Room B on the first floor.


Chicago, IL

Ralph H. Metcalfe Federal Building
77 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60604
View map
Capacity: 27

Local hackathon run-time: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm, Central Time (CT). Participants should arrive no later than: 8:15 am.

Special instructions: Participant will follow all security procedures stated and be escorted by a hackathon representative to Rooms 330 and 329.


Ft. Worth, TX

Fritz G. Lanham Federal Building
819 Taylor Street, Fort Worth, TX 76102-6124
View map
Capacity: 25

Local hackathon run-time: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm, CT. Participants should arrive no earlier than: 8:00 am. Public hours to the building are 7 am - 5 pm.

Special instructions: The building has two entrances. Participants can use either entrance and a hackathon representative will be stationed there to escort to the rooms, after the participant follows security protocol.


Kansas City, MO

Two Pershing Square
2300 Main Street, Kansas City, MO 64108-2416
View map
Capacity: 136

Local hackathon run-time: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm, CT. Participants should arrive no later than: 8:15 am.

Special instructions: The building is open to the public. A hackathon representative will escort participants to the meeting room.


New York City, NY

One World Trade Center
New York, NY 10007
View map
Capacity: 35

Local hackathon run-time: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm, ET. Participants arrive no earlier than: 9:00 am. Public hours to the building are 7 am - 5 pm.

Special instructions: Please enter at the south entrance. Participants will follow all security procedures stated and be escorted by a hackathon representative to Room 55S08.


Philadelphia, PA

Dow Building
100 S Independence Mall W, Philadelphia, PA 19106-3400
View map
Capacity: 15

Local hackathon run-time: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm, ET. Participants arrive no later than: 9:00 am.

Special instructions: The Dow Building is located on the corner of 6th and Market Streets. Participants can enter by using stairs on either Market Street side or 6th street side. Participants will come across Beer Garden to the Lobby entrance. Participants should check in at the security desk. A hackathon representative to escort them to the conference room.


San Francisco, CA

50 United Nations Plaza Federal Office Building
50 United Nations Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94102
View map
Capacity: 50

Local hackathon run-time: 7:00 am - 2:00 pm, Pacific Time (PT). Participants arrive no earlier than: 6:30 am. Public hours to the building are 6:30 am - 5 pm.

Special instructions: Please enter through the center doors facing Civic Center and UN Plaza. Participant will follow all security procedures stated and be escorted by a hackathon representative to the Oakland & San Francisco conference rooms.


Washington, DC

U.S. General Services Administration, Central Office
1800 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20405-0001
View map
Capacity: 68

Local hackathon run-time: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm, ET. Participants arrive no later than: 9:00 am. Public hours to the building are 7:00 am - 5:00 pm.

Special instructions: Main entrance located on 18th & F Street NW. Participant will follow all security procedures stated and be escorted by a hackathon representative to the Conference Center Rooms 1459, 1460, and 1461.


Questions?

Questions about the hackathon can be directed to gsacxhack2019@gsa.gov.

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