User Experience

2021 User Experience Summit

Tuesday, June 22, 2021 11:01 AM – 4:00 PM ET

Hosted by and the User Experience Community of Practice

On June 22, June 23, and June 24, 2021, the User Experience (UX) Community of Practice (CoP) will bring together experts to share their experiences as UX practitioners in the federal government.

Each session will begin at 11:00 am, ET, and conclude at 4:00 pm, ET each day of the summit. There will be a 15-minute break after each presentation.

When registering, please select the days you would like to attend directly on the registration page to receive the correct Zoom for Government links and conference details.

Please find descriptions and agendas for the summit sessions below:

Keynote: The Future of Design Must Be Trauma-Informed (11:00 am - 12:00 pm, ET)

After more than a year of living through a pandemic, we are all experiencing new normals, new ways of being, and new traumas. Rachael Dietkus will talk about her journey from an AmeriCorps member in 1998, to her time as a federal employee from 2010 - 2016, and her current work as a social worker and design researcher focused on trauma in design.

In this session you will hear from the following speaker:

  • Rachael Dietkus

Designing With People of All Abilities (12:30 pm - 1:30 pm, ET)

When it comes to accessibility more needs to be done to understand how we can best design with people of all abilities. At the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), teams such as 18F, the Technology Transformation Services (TTS) Research Guild, and the TTS Accessibility Guild have been spearheading work to help define best practices. This presentation will highlight approaches to incorporate accessibility in your design practice.

View the slides (PowerPoint presentation, 14.9 MB, 61 pages)

In this session you will hear from the following speakers:

  • Robert Jolly — 18F, GSA TTS
  • Ben Peterson — GSA
  • Pia Zaragoza — Presidential Innovation Fellow (PIF), TTS

Engaging Employees: A Critical Step To Improving the Customer Experience (CX) (1:45 pm - 2: 45 pm, ET)

Improving the customer experience (CX) starts with improving the employee experience. Leaders that actively empower and engage their employees know that they alone can’t holistically improve their customers’ experiences. They understand that it’s critical for their employees to feel valued and engaged in order for them to want to provide outstanding service and create positive customer experiences. Learn how one government agency discovered the vital behaviors that lead to engaged employees and replicate it at your agency.

View the slides (PowerPoint presentation, 3.06 MB, 27 pages)

In this session you will hear from the following speakers:

  • Airis Gill — U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
  • Morgan Montes, Washington State Department of Revenue
  • Janet Shimabukuro, Washington State Department of Revenue

Humanizing Data and Success Metrics (3:00 pm - 4: 00 pm, ET)

UX practitioners value data and evidence. But who determines 1) what data matters, 2) whether decisions should be co-created and shared with frontline teams and the public, and 3) how data practices perpetuate, or don’t perpetuate, structural inequalities? Join us for lessons learned from projects that tried to answer these questions.

View the slides (PowerPoint presentation, 7.4 MB, 35 pages)

In this session you will hear from the following speakers:

  • Felipe Flores — Office of Personnel Management (OPM)
  • Marc Hebert — City and County of San Francisco, Human Services Agency
  • Tim Lowden — Digital Analytics Program (DAP), GSA TTS
  • Darnell Sessoms — NYC Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity

Equity-Centered Design: Challenges in Government (11:00 am - 12:00 pm, ET)

18F’s research practice is evolving from user-centered design toward equity-centered design, an approach that addresses power imbalances between researchers and participants. Equity-centered design seeks to provide value back to participants. It provides mechanisms to identify potential hazards and harms in the services and products we create. Prioritizing equity can result in safer, more equitable access to government services for everyone, including those in marginalized groups. In this session we’ll share our vision of a more equitable 18F research practice, how we’re overcoming government-specific hurdles to engage in better collaboration with research participants and communities, and tips you can incorporate into your practice.

View the slides (PowerPoint presentation, 3.54 MB, 44 pages)

In this session you will hear from the following speakers:

  • Ben Peterson — 18F, GSA
  • Julie Strothman — 18F, GSA

Building Empathy Remotely (12:30 pm - 12:50 pm, ET)

Remote design research presents a myriad of challenges, and one of the more abstract challenges is how to create empathy with participants. Through the lens of a COVID-19 response tablet distribution program that provided internet access, we explored the creative ways we tried to build empathy with our research participants, and create a shared headspace as a team. Despite only speaking with participants over the phone, we were able to imagine the ways they incorporated their tablets into their daily lives through their stories which left us listening to brand new music and exploring new-to-us android games.

View the slides (PowerPoint presentation, 24.3 MB, 20 pages)

In this session you will hear from the following speakers:

  • Alexander Hoover — U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
  • Elyse Voegeli — New York City Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer

Pivot on a Deadline: How To Use More Testing, Not Less, To Drive Delivery (12:50 pm - 1:10 pm, ET)

When user research and usability face tightening deadlines, deadlines usually win and testing is the first thing to be dropped from the schedule. The result is often something that meets requirements and the launch date, but not user needs. In this lightning talk, we’ll use the example of the Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement to discuss how to keep user research and usability testing central in even the tightest development cycles. Rather than fighting deadlines, use testing to prioritize, divide across releases, and ensure your minimum viable product (MVP) is not just viable, but valuable.

View the slides (PowerPoint presentation, 2.96 MB, 24 pages)

View the slides (PowerPoint presentation, 3.06 MB, 27 pages)

In this session yo u will hear from the following speaker:

  • Tait Chamberlain — U.S. Department of Education (ED)

Discovery Research for Government Application Programming Interfaces (APIs): Why and How (1:10 pm - 1:30 pm, ET)

Why invest in discovery research to design APIs for government services? What methods to use and what questions to ask? This presentation will share learnings from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) API platform, VA Lighthouse APIs. We conduct discovery research to design API functionality that enables Veterans to apply for and appeal benefits. In line with a human-centered design approach to APIs, we use an ethnography framework to approach problems from the perspective of the people who use and manage these benefits, and make sure we’re designing APIs that answer Veterans’ questions and address their needs.

View the slides (PowerPoint presentation, 1.21 MB, 36 pages)

In this session you will hear from the following speakers:

  • Andrew Fichter — U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
  • Maria Vidart-Delgado — Contractor, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Open Source Information Architecture Design: Using the Tools You Have To Conduct Card Sorting and Tree Testing (1:45 pm - 2:45 pm, ET)

Have you ever wanted to conduct a card sort or tree test, but didn’t have the tools? Learn how we conducted a card sort using GitHub and a tree test using a clickable prototype.

View the slides (PowerPoint presentation, 24.1 MB, 60 pages)

In this session you will hear from the following speaker:

  • Shannon McHarg — Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR)

Journey Mapping Access to Justice (3:00 pm - 4:00 pm, ET)

Learn how journey mapping can help pinpoint both user needs and process improvement opportunities – and how, when improved through a user-centered lens, you can create policy changes that result in more equitable access to resident services.

View the slides (PowerPoint presentation, 2.64 MB, 13 pages)

In this session you will hear from the following speakers:

  • Crystal Sprage — Wyandotte County, KS
  • Daniel Yi — U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)

Conscious Uncoupling: Innovative Ways To Separate User Habits From User Needs (11:00 am - 12:00 pm, ET)

We all do things out of habit, whether it’s thawing chicken in the microwave or instinctively clicking the farthest right button to submit a form. But what happens when your users don’t understand why they’re doing things a certain way, when behavior is so ingrained that they can’t differentiate the what from the why? At the U.S. Tax Court, we encountered such habitual thinking while modernizing a decades-old legacy system, where behaviors were unwittingly shaped by technical limitations, systematic training issues, and “that’s just how it is” thinking. We’ll share creative ways to get to the root of behavior and uncover what users really need.

View the slides (PowerPoint presentation, 5.72 MB, 39 pages)

In this session you will hear from the following speakers:

  • Natalie Kurz — Contractor, U.S. Tax Court
  • Kristen Lohman — Contractor, U.S. Tax Court
  • Jessica Marine — U.S. Tax Court

Patient-Powered Innovations: Framing Problems Into Opportunities With Health+ (12:30 pm - 12:50 pm, ET)

As designers and technologists in government, how can we put the American people first, listening and learning from them every step of the way? In this talk, you’ll hear about how the Health+ methodology at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) facilitates patient-centered innovations as part of the LymeX public-private partnership. You’ll learn about the playbook we’ve created to frame problems effectively, starting first and foremost with your stakeholders that are experts in their lived experiences. You’ll also learn about how to apply these human-centered design methods in your own projects.

In this session you will hear from the following speaker:

  • Alex Wilson — HHS

Designers across government must build rapport with subject matter experts (SMEs) in economics, policy, and other fields who often bring an analytical approach that clashes with the creative methods of design. How do we build bridges across disciplines? This case study will share insights on the application of a human-centered design approach to the Equal Employment Opportunity process at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Learn about ways to develop frameworks for co-creation with SMEs, navigating differences between legalese, service design, and plain language, as well as how to move from procedural actions to intentional interactions.

View the slides (PowerPoint presentation, 412 KB, 10 pages)

In this session you will hear from the following speaker:

  • Alexis Schilf — CFPB

Establishing a Customer-Centric Culture at NRC (1:10 pm - 1:30 pm , ET)

In order to improve customer experience at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) has established a customer experience (CX) capability to drive a customer-centric culture and improve IT service delivery. Since inception, OCIO has designed the strategy for implementing CX, built a CX team, gathered data on customer satisfaction rates for IT services, conducted journey mapping exercises, and built several channels for customer feedback to understand the customer perspective.

View the slides, part 1 (PowerPoint presentation, 17.4 MB, 5 pages)

View the slides, part 2 (PowerPoint presentation, 12.1 MB, 5 pages)

In this session you will hear from the following speakers:

  • Sarah Bever — Contractor
  • Scott Flanders — NRC
  • Gwen Hayden — NRC
  • Amy Roundtree — NRC
  • Basia Sall — NRC

Iterating on a State-Level Digital Service Team: Colorado’s Year One Self-Retro (1:45 pm - 2:45 pm, ET)

State-level digital service teams are still a relatively new entity in the civic tech space. As our Colorado Digital Service team passed our one year anniversary, we wanted to understand: What value did we bring to our agency partners? How did our self-perceived value differ from how our partners saw us? How can we iterate upon our team to help build a more equitable state government for all Coloradans? We conducted a self-retro by interviewing 40+ state government employees who had interacted with us over the past year, and compared that input against our own team’s value statements. The results were illuminating. Learn about what we did well and what we could have done better.

View the slides (PowerPoint presentation, 1.30 MB, 22 pages)

In this session you will hear from the following speakers:

  • Stephanie Cain — Colorado Digital Service
  • Randy Hart — 18F, GSA TTS
  • Karyn Lu — Colorado Digital Service

You’re a Human-Centered Designer! Trust Me! (3:00 pm - 4:00 pm, ET)

Human-centered design is critical to the success of building modern services. Especially in government, we should build services for people but also with the people - but also with the people. But how do you build human-centered products that meet people’s needs without the resources for a dedicated human centered design person? In this presentation, we’ll demonstrate that folks with UX in their title don’t have a monopoly on human centered design methods. Learn about our experience as a team of federal staff who use human centered design methods at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to improve healthcare delivery and care coordination for medicare beneficiaries.

View the slides (PowerPoint presentation, 12.8 MB, 38 pages)

In this session you will hear from the following speakers:

  • Alberto Colon Viera — CMS
  • Nicole Pham — CMS
  • Sarah Tully — CMS

The 2021 Government UX Summit is sponsored by the User Experience (UX) Community of Practice (CoP) and