User Experience

2022 Government UX Summit

Tuesday, June 07, 2022 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM ET

Hosted by Digital.gov and the User Experience Community of Practice

On June 7 and June 8, 2022, we will bring together user experience (UX) practitioners in the federal government to discuss case studies and share best practices. Hear from, and ask questions of, our speakers about their experiences and lessons learned as they applied a variety of UX methods to federal projects.

The summit is virtual and all times are Eastern. Presentations will begin at 11:00 am and conclude at 4:00 pm each day of the summit. There will be a short break after each session.

Please find the agenda and descriptions of each session below. We will begin adding some of the video clips in July.

11:00 am - 11:10 am, ET
Opening Remarks: Chief Innovation Officer, Chike Aguh, Department of Labor


11:10 am - 12:00 pm, ET
How to Redesign a 19-Year-old Legacy Application Using Agile and User Experience Methodologies

View the slides (PowerPoint, 7.4 MB, 39 pages)

Imagine an application used by millions of users per year not being updated in 19 years. Then imagine getting money to fully redesign the look and feel, logic and content of this application, making it seem like a brand new user experience. Finally, imagine launching this application to the public and continuing to improve it during the pandemic — remotely and using agile and user experience methodologies. You won’t need your imagination, because we will tell you how we did it at the Internal Revenue Service.

In this session you will hear from the following speakers:

  • Samuel Chapman — Digital User Experience Analyst, Internal Revenue Service
  • Kira Prin — Product Development Specialist, Internal Revenue Service

12:30 pm - 12:50 pm, ET
Drowning in Data? How To Use Customer Experience Data To Drive User Experience Research

View the slides (PowerPoint, 10.1 MB, 12 pages)

Some teams may find themselves drowning in customer data and unsure how to make sense of it. What do you prioritize? What story does the data tell? It can be tempting to make product changes solely based on customer experience metrics and surveys. However, this is only one part of the story. In this talk, we’ll touch on how we use a framework that marries traditional qualitative user experience research methods with customer experience data—which results in a holistic view of audiences’ needs in a way that the data alone can’t do.

In this session you will hear from the following speakers:

  • Sean Cassidy — UX Design Lead, Department of Education
  • Jay Blumenthal — Contractor, UX, Department of Education

12:50 pm - 1:10 pm, ET
Reframing the Role of Senior Leaders in Modern Software Design

View the slides (PowerPoint, 2.18 MB, 28 pages)

Managing modern software development in government can sometimes leave senior leaders wondering, “how is this supposed to work?” Without clear answers, well-intentioned leaders bring existing strategies to new initiatives and risk undermining its success. In this session, we’ll discuss how to reset expectations with senior leaders to uphold modern software design practices and support your team.

In this session you will hear from the following speakers:

  • Colin Murphy — 18F Product Manager, General Services Administration
  • Allison Press — 18F User Experience Designer, General Services Administration

1:10 pm - 1:30 pm, ET
You May Already Know More Than You Think: Leverage User Data You Already Have To Get Started

View the slides part 1 (PowerPoint, 20.4 MB, 10 pages)
View the slides part 2 (PowerPoint, 6.53 MB, 11 pages)

User research professionals are often stumped about what data might be easily available to inform their exploration of possible areas of website improvement. During this presentation, we will discuss the following five data streams that may already exist at agencies:

  • Notes from listening sessions with users and/or stakeholders;
  • Comparative analyses;
  • Industry best practices;
  • Past usability tests; and
  • Reviews of data or information requests.

Taken together, this qualitative and quantitative data may help agencies focus their attention on impactful changes to websites.

In this session you will hear from the following speakers:

  • Kathy Piscopo — Senior Science Officer, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • Dara Pressley — Contractor, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

1:45 pm - 2:45 pm, ET
Designing the Refugee and Asylum Interview Experience

View the slides (PowerPoint, 5.53 MB, 47 pages)

The Department of Homeland Security has been at work for two years researching the biggest problems that arise during the interview portion of refugee and asylum cases. Those problems include:

  • Asking the right questions in very case specific situations;
  • Needing to access country-specific information quickly;
  • Addressing duplicative data from the case file to the interview and downstream processes;
  • Adapting to procedural changes to interviews or procedures for unfamiliar case types;
  • Reducing physical contact to conduct safe interviews during the pandemic; and
  • Working with intermittent internet connectivity in remote locations.

We have conducted pilots in several asylum offices across the United States and refugee pilots in Uganda and Egypt. Our team used human-centered design to iterate and respond to business and user needs while overcoming challenges such as COVID-19 and changing priorities. This presentation will highlight some of those unexpected challenges and the solutions, and how they apply to our work on federal websites and digital services.

In this session you will hear from the following speakers:

  • Taylor S Gandolfi Santos — Product Design Lead, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • Maggie Larkin — Product Manager, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

3:00 pm - 4:00 pm, ET
Building an Inclusive User Research Practice: A Case Study in Progress

View the slides (PowerPoint, 13.8 MB, 34 pages)

What does it mean for user research to be inclusive? How does it impact your mission? How do you actually do it? The IRS’s Office of Online Services is exploring these questions to build an inclusive research capability. We’ll share how we’re planning and growing this capability, with early focus on research with participants with disabilities and limited English proficiency (LEP). We’ll also share actionable tips about managing process change and conducting user research with these communities. Discussion welcome!

In this session you will hear from the following speakers:

  • Alcora Walden — Assistant Director, Product Management & User Experience and Design, Internal Revenue Service
  • Brandon Szabo — Chief, User Experience and Design, Internal Revenue Service
  • Ronna ten Brink — Contractor, Senior Human Factors Engineer, Internal Revenue Service

11:00 am - 12:00 pm, ET
The Business Case for Innovation

View the slides (PowerPoint, 3.27 MB, 26 pages)

Misalignment of the customer-driven recommendations of human-centered design (HCD) and the investment-driven priorities of executive leadership can result in under-resourced products that neither satisfy customers nor return acceptable value to stakeholders. This session lays out a framework for translating output like customer journeys and HCD research efforts into quantifiable, actionable data that resonates with executive leadership. This framework will reinforce the business case for innovation through HCD across federal agencies as part of broader digital transformation initiatives.

In this session you will hear from the following speakers:

  • Mike Catania — Innovation Specialist, Department of Veterans Affairs

12:30 pm - 12:50 pm, ET
Designing Digital Products for Adults With Low Literacy

View the slides (PowerPoint, 3.05 MB, 15 pages)

Over 50% of U.S. adults score below an international benchmark for literacy, with roughly 20% scoring at the very lowest levels. These adults span all demographics and are a part of your audience. What can we do as user experience professionals to support digital inclusion of adults with low reading literacy levels? This session provides a high-level overview of best practices in design standards, plain language, content strategy, and usability testing.

In this session you will hear from the following speaker:

  • Sheila Walsh — Public Affairs Specialist, Department of Health and Human Services

12:50 pm - 1:10 pm, ET
Automating a “Mega” User Journey: Relieving the Pain of In-and-Out Processing

View the slides (PowerPoint, 4.04 MB, 12 pages)

Every organization has a few “mega” user journeys that consume inordinate time and resources. For example, the Department of Defense could streamline in-and-out processing to increase morale and productivity across every location and produce billions of dollars of cost savings. But past attempts to automate this mega user journey have only addressed small pieces of the problem, with minimal benefit.

In this session you will hear from the following speaker:

  • Captain Nicholas Forrest — Artificial Intelligence Solutions Architect, U.S. Air Force

1:10 pm - 1:30 pm, ET
How Do You Teach What Data Is in More Than 120 Censuses and Surveys? You Don’t!

View the slides part 1 (PowerPoint, 13.3 MB, 9 pages)
View the slides part 2 (PowerPoint, 18.3 MB, 9 pages)

How do you create a simple visual or presentation to teach all the data topics, geographies, and frequencies of our eight pages of surveys on census.gov? You don’t! We realized that no one should have to memorize this amount of information. The solution was to think bigger and to create a reference tool. Thus, the Survey Explorer was born. This product was designed and user experience-tested in just a few months with the right mix of people, attitude, and agile problem-solving.

In this session you will hear from the following speakers:

  • Mary Leisenring — Program Analyst, Census Bureau
  • Eric Coyle — Intergovernmental Affairs Specialist, Census Bureau
  • Logan Powell — Developer Experience Lead, Census Bureau

1:45 pm - 2:45 pm, ET
Designing for People With Cognitive Disabilities (And Everyone Else)

View the slides (PowerPoint, 16.3 MB, 41 pages)

The art of designing and creating content to support people with cognitive disabilities lives in the space between usability and accessibility. This presentation will discuss design patterns and approaches to support people with disabilities relating to attention, executive function, language, learning, and memory. These recommendations are not accessibility standards; they are recommended best practices that improve the user experience for everyone.

In this session you will hear from the following speaker:

  • Rachael Bradley Montgomery — Digital Accessibility Architect, Library of Congress

3:00 pm - 4:00 pm, ET
You Are the User: Recognizing Systemic Challenges for the Design Team of One

View the slides (PowerPoint, 534 KB, 44 pages)

Many designers are often alone on projects. Even in large organizations, they may feel isolated as they work with their product team. When things don’t go smoothly, designers may shoulder the blame. In this talk, listeners will come away with a design framework to recognize when they need to focus on the system they’re in, instead of their performance.

In this session you will hear from the following speaker:

  • Amanda Damewood — Acting Director of User Experience, Department of Homeland Security

About the UX Community of Practice

The UX Community of Practice is a group of managers, subject matter experts, designers, developers, writers and others interested in creating efficient, effective and useful technologies.