User Experience

2020 Government UX Summit: July 28, 29, and 30

Tuesday, July 28, 2020 11:30 AM – 2:30 PM ET

Hosted by UX Community of Practice and Digital.gov

First Session – 10-minute presentations 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM ET

Becoming a UX Houdini: Finding Opportunities in the Face of Constrictions - John Pull, Library of Congress

The Library of Congress’s Harry Houdini Collection provides insights and inspiration for UX professionals who feel chained down by the regulations, legacy systems, and PR challenges of government projects.

UX Research via Dot-Voting - Angela Smithers, National Museum of African American History and Culture

A presentation on adapting the discover method from 18F to perform quick user testing and get quantifiable results that stakeholders can comprehend.

Development of a Standardized Formula to Calculate Severity Scores in Multitask Usability Testing - Anthony J. Schulzetenberg, U.S. Census Bureau

Severity scores are often used in usability research to provide stakeholders a measure of urgency for the usability problems that were identified during testing. However, the methods used to develop these scores often lack rigor or applicability to multitask usability research. Because government UX research often involves testing multiple tasks, we propose an intuitive method to calculate severity scores for each usability problem that takes into account both the effectiveness and efficiency of the user, weighting effectiveness-related problems more heavily. We then can calculate an overall severity score and see each problem’s relative strain on the system’s total usability.

Solving the Lost Sock Problem: A Useful Method to Track Standards and UX Requirements in an Agile Software Development Process - Margo Kabel, Veterans Health Administration

This presentation proposes a useful method to track standards and UX requirements in an agile software development process. This presentation is also a case study of medication information standards implementation at the Veterans Health Administration.

Second Session 1:30 – 2:30 PM ET

Ohana for Digital Service Design (or Baking Accessibility into your Digital Product Lifecycle) - Jennifer Strickland and Kendra Skeene, Ad Hoc (VA Modernization)

Designing and developing digital products that are accessible to all doesn’t just make good business sense — it’s also the law. Yet it’s often an overlooked part of the product development lifecycle. The best and most cost-effective way to ensure your product is accessible is to start with accessibility. In this session, participants will learn how to incorporate accessibility and inclusive design at each stage of the product lifecycle. From product requirements through user research, content strategy and copywriting, design, front-end development, and QA, consider accessibility using these effective guidelines.


First Session – 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM ET

Service Design Versus Product Design – What is it and when do we use it? - Caroline Kyungae Smith and Katherine Nammacher, US Digital Service*

It’s common to think of design in terms of tangible objects, like a chair, or in terms of digital products, like an app. This design discipline, known as Product Design, focuses on identifying customer requirements in order to achieve manufacturability.

But how about those experiences we can’t touch or see? How do we account for the ecosystem in which our products will live to achieve real adoption and high-quality user experience?

That’s where Service Design comes in.

Learn about the similarities and differences between Product Design and Service Design, how they co-exist, and more importantly, when to use them!

Second Session 1:30 – 2:30 PM ET

More, Better, Faster: How Service Design Helps the Austin.gov Team Transition Content at Scale - Sarah Rigdon, Jo Dwyer, Andrew Do, and Kristin Taylor, Office of Design and Delivery at the City of Austin

For residents, forms are often front doors to access city services. They are also critical entry points not just to redesign content, but to transform the end-to-end experience of city services that better serve residents. This talk will discuss lessons learned from the City of Austin’s experiments in how service designers collaborate with content strategists to achieve this goal. We will focus on two case studies that offer different insights on how service designers and content strategists can collaborate.


First Session – 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM ET

Softening the Landing: Leading Your Customers through Change - Christy Hermansen, U.S. General Services Administration (GSA)

Modernization means change—and change can sometimes be hard. When creating new user experiences, it’s also important to understand and design how people will transition to an experience that is different from what they know. This case study features lessons learned from an on-going, multi-phase federal modernization impacting millions of federal and non-federal users. You will see our dramatically different old and new users’ experiences, and walk step-by-step through different approaches we are using to soften the landing for our customers.

Second Session 1:30 – 2:30 PM ET

Discovering #PartofSomethingBigger for HHS Careers Website - Brooke Dine HHS/Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (ASPA), and Katie Kline

A comprehensive, empirical discovery process sets the stage for a streamlined roadmap and agile project approach. Drawing on discovery insights for a new Careers site for HHS.gov, the speakers will recount quantifiable tactics that led to an evidence-based decision matrix which guided the design, development, content and communications efforts for the project. Participants will hear use cases for activities that can be used to ensure any pivoting supports the overarching digital strategy. Additionally, regular check-ins with stakeholders will run smoothly when the vision for the site is captured in the beginning with benchmarks for success clearly identified.


The 2020 Government UX Summit is sponsored by the User Experience Community of Practice (UX CoP) and DigitalGov.

The UX CoP is a group of more than 1,300 federal, state, and local U.S. government employees and contractors who are interested in applying UX methods to create efficient, effective, and useful products and systems. We provide training, networking, and support for government UX practitioners. Anyone with an interest in UX and a US government email address is encouraged to join.