The United States Social Security Administration

Government Launches Login.Gov to Simplify Access to Public Services

Joel Minton, a member of the U.S. Digital Service, is working with GSA’s Technology Transformation Service as the director of login.gov. Tom Mills is the Chief Technology Architect at U.S. Customs and Border Protection. In early April, the U.S. Digital Service and 18F launched login.gov, a single sign-on solution for government websites that will enable citizens to access public services across agencies with the same username and password. Login.gov is currently in action at the U.

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Social Security Joins The Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration

Social Security joins you and your family in celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 to October 15. We know the contributions of Hispanics can be traced to before the origins of the United States with the discovery, exploration, and naming of many places in our nation, such as state names like California, Colorado, and Texas and city names like San Antonio, Santa Barbara, and Boca Raton. Hispanics have influenced every facet of life, from language to our cultural development.

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Modernizing Federal IT Part 5: Modernizing Software Architecture

This is the fifth in a series describing how the Social Security Administration is working towards a more modern IT infrastructure. You can find part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here and part 4 here. In the next three posts we will consider the problem of modernizing old legacy software. In this post we will start a discussion about why modernizing software is important and what is most important to think about first.

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Improving Internal Communications: Best Practices

Customers are not the only group with whom we need to effectively communicate as we work to improve our quality of service. Effective communication between employees and leadership is critical to improving the customer experience. Front line employees interact with the public on a regular basis, and if employees do not have the information they need, or if they are not happy in their work, customers can see that. Here are some tips to improve internal communications.

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My Data: Empowering All Americans with Personal Data Access

Summary: Consumers empowered with their own data are in the driver’s seat to make informed choices. In the 21st century economy, Americans rely on online services to access personal bank accounts, pay bills, and shop online, so why don’t we have similar interactions with Federal government through easy-to-use, online tools? The answer is we can—and increasingly we are—as we continue to build a 21st century government. Since first taking office, President Obama has been committed to building a more open and transparent government while, at the same time, protecting consumers and empowering them to make informed choices for themselves and their families.

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Government Customer Service Update—Webinar Recap

OMB’s Lisa Danzig, who co-leads the Cross Agency Priority (CAP) Customer Service Goal with Carolyn Colvin, from the Social Security Administration, shared a status update on the CAP goal work they’ve done since we last spoke with her, earlier this year. Background When the public comes to the federal government for information and services, they should receive an optimal customer experience. The Customer Service CAP goal spells out specific strategies to help us achieve this.

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Sixty Years of Tradition: Tracking Santa with NORAD

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there; The children were nestled all snug in their beds;… …wondering when Santa was coming? “Let’s check!” they all said; So they pulled out their smartphones and tracked Santa’s flight, and played the app’s games ’til close to midnight.

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Best Practices for Remote User Experience Research

Once simply an idea, remote data gathering is now a very important reality in UCD (user-centered design) work. However, there are some challenges, particularly when your agency serves the entire nation and all of the groups in it. Identifying and finding solutions for these issues will help you best use this important tool. One of the most difficult problems is that you don’t have physical access to your users. In some cases, this is just the way it is—it’s basically impossible to try and observe everyone doing everything.

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Fascinating Geysers on the NPS Yellowstone Geysers App

Geological phenomena such as steaming mud craters, bubbling mud pools, hot springs and geysers are some of the exhilarating features of a geo-thermal wonderland. Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park falls into this category. If you are planning a visit to Yellowstone, you can download the National Park Service (NPS)’s NPS Yellowstone Geysers free mobile app from iTunes for iOS and Google Play for Android devices. The app is simple to use with a straightforward menu structure.

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Is There a Generic Equivalent to My Brand Name Drug? Find out with FDA OB Express

Have you ever taken your prescription to the pharmacy, the one that you fill regularly, and the pharmacist hands you pills that have a different name and look quite different from what you regularly get? As a chemist by training, I try to curb my initial anxiety by checking out the composition. However, I have always looked for reassurance from the pharmacist that he/she has dispensed an equivalent generic drug at the direction of my doctor.

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Post Office Whenever and Wherever—USPS Mobile® App

Gone are the days when you have to drive miles on a hot and humid afternoon or a cold wintry morning to your local post office to mail your letters, get your stamps or determine how much postage you will need for that package. Technology has become integral to our lives, and now many of these familiar postal services are available at our fingertips on our mobile devices. Categorized under business, the USPS Mobile® app services customers’ postal needs.

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Making Federal Employment Accessible thru DOD’s CAP App

“My Disability is One Part of Who I Am” was the theme of the 70th National Disability Employment Awareness Month this past October. We celebrated the many contributions of our friends and co-workers with disabilities and recognized the diverse skills and talents they bring to our workplace. However, the real question is: how do we create a comfortable work environment that provides equal access and growth opportunities for all? The Department of Defense’s Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) created a free app that is available for download at the iTunes App Store and Google Play.

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Skin & Bones Come Alive with Smithsonian App

The night air is cool and crisp, the autumn leaves are falling, your costume is ready, jack-o-lanterns carved, lights dimmed, candy in the basket—what else do you need to make “All Hallows’ Eve trick or treat” complete? Some eerie music, a spine tingling, blood curdling horror movie? No, no—those are for yesteryears! This Halloween, let’s make the skeletons in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History come alive. Let’s try and capture that vampire bat skeleton that pulls itself off the mount to run away, or watch the horror of an extinct Steller’s sea cow materialize in the flesh.

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Building the Next Generation of Government Innovators

Innovators are made, not born. This summer, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began cultivating the next generation of federal innovators through a summer incubator boot camp, aimHI. AimHI is a pilot program to get high school students excited about careers in health information technology, medical devices and public service. Instead of traditional internships, which can be cost-prohibitive and focused on menial tasks, aimHI provides a free opportunity where students learn by doing and by creating their own experiences.

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Know Your Molluscs with the Terrestrial Mollusc Key

I have to admit my knowledge of slugs and snails was limited to the familiar, slimy creatures in my garden that ate holes in leaves, flowers, vegetables—almost anything, really—and left silvery traces behind. The Terrestrial Mollusc Key mobile app from the Department of Agriculture was a revelation. The app, specifically designed to assist in the identification of adult terrestrial slugs and snails of agricultural importance, includes 33 families and 128 species.

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Why Your User Experience Must Include Design for Accessibility

Too often, usability and accessibility are confused with each other by our clients (stakeholders). They shouldn’t be, because while they are related, they are very different. So, how do you bring these two concepts together? They should really be working side-by-side throughout the ENTIRE process. This might seem like a no-brainer but it can be a challenge. First things first, Section 508 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act is a LAW.

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Track Time and Wages with Labor’s Timesheet App

Believe it or not, even a couple years ago, I was using pen and paper to record and track the hours I worked. It was definitely a chore, reconciling work hours with leave, overtime and any number of other entries, week after week. However, in these times of mobile apps for almost anything, several products are available to capture and track time. While this category is quite crowded, the U.

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USGS is Asking If You Felt It: Latest Earthquakes

Having experienced everything from little tremors to violent shaking, I know what it is like to live in an earthquake zone. Hiding below a large table or under the sturdy doorframe, and at times with the entire building swaying back and forth—it can be quite frightening and confusing at the same time. Your thoughts are flying at 200 miles an hour, flitting from one to the next, concerned about your and your family’s safety.

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Using Section 508 Guidance to Improve the Accessibility of Government Services

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires federal agencies to use accessible information and communication technology (ICT), whether procured, developed, or maintained. Since the U.S. Access Board issued regulations for the law in 2000, much implementation guidance has been prepared by various agencies. While the regulations are being refreshed to account for changes in ICT over the years, we can take advantage of existing guidance that applies accessibility guidelines in contemporary contexts.

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Spanish Language Mobile Apps from Gobierno.USA.gov

In mobile app development, if you aren’t making it multilingual, you miss providing anytime, anywhere information and services to important mobile-only audiences. Regular DigitalGov readers know that we’ve touched on Hispanic mobile trends before, including the high rates of mobile usage among Hispanic millennials. Today, we’re highlighting five Spanish language apps from the Spanish Version of the USA.gov Federal Mobile Apps Directory hosted by Gobierno.USA.gov, Aplicaciones Móviles. Multilingual app development is one way federal agencies meet the diverse needs of the U.

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Trends on Tuesday: Avoid the Testing Black Hole

Remember the Golden Age of Web development? A time long ago when there were only five desktop browsers to support, a few different screen sizes and every user connected via broadband? Well, those days are over. With the advent of mobile Web implementations like responsive Web design, there are three times the number of browsers working on many different-sized devices with varying operating systems and connection speeds. Trying to tackle all of these factors quickly becomes a testing nightmare.

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Multilingual Digital Content

Federal agencies are required to provide meaningful access to government information to people with limited English proficiency. This applies to your agency’s digital content too. You need to determine how much information you need to provide in other languages, based on an assessment of your audience. The need is increasing The number of people who are not proficient in English is growing dramatically every year. According to the 2010 Census, there are approximately 25 million who speak a foreign language at home and whose English-speaking ability is at the level “less than very well.

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Government Open and Structured Content Models Are Here!

Smartphones, tablets, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, not to mention your agency’s desktop website, are all clamoring for information, but sliced and diced in different ways. How can you make your content adaptive for efficient delivery to all of these mediums? Structured content and open content models can help you create content that is platform-agnostic, format-free, and device-independent. We’ve created two open and structured content models that we want you to use and adapt.

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Social Security’s Mobile Website

The Social Security Administration recently announced their new optimized mobile website which is compatible with Android, Blackberry, iPhone, and Windows devices. The mobile website offers a user friendly tabular icon driven navigation, which makes it very easy to find information anytime, anywhere. This mobile website was developed with intelligent back end business processes that assist users with identifying documents needed for a new/replacement Social Security number (SSN) card. Mobile users can also access many of Social Security’s publications in both English and Spanish.

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Agency Digital Strategy Pages

In his May 23rd, 2012 Presidential Memorandum, President Obama directed Executive Departments and Agencies to: Implement the requirements of the Digital Government Strategy, and Create a page at www.[agency].gov/digitalstrategy to publicly report progress of this implementation. Consistent with Milestone Actions #2.1 (open data) and #7.1 (mobile optimization), agencies will post candidate data sets and services to open up over the next several months on these pages.

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