User Centered Design

Vets.gov: A Modern Software Development Environment in Government

Jul 3, 2017 | ,

When people think of government software, they often think of COBOL and PowerBuilder 5, with manual software deploys every three to six months on a fixed number of machines in a government-run data center. This perception is sometimes justified, but sometimes entirely wrong. Regardless, the perception makes many developers reluctant to work for the government Read »

VA Innovators Network Program: Ahead of the Curve in Healthcare Innovation

Jun 30, 2017 |

VA Innovators Network Program Selected as FedHealth IT Innovation Award Winner This month, FedHealth IT announced that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Innovators Network Program was selected as a 2017 recipient of the FedHealthIT Innovation Award. FedHealth IT recognized 25 Federal Health Read »

Improving Customer Experience with Digital Personas

Jun 20, 2017 |

Keeping the customer’s needs front and center is important when developing new digital tools. We recently developed a set of user personas as part of our work to establish a more robust—and data informed—understanding of the individuals that engage digitally with the National Archives (NARA). User personas are fictional, but realistic representations of key audience Read »

Fractal and Federalist Join the U.S. Web Design Standards

Jun 13, 2017 |

We’ve recently added two powerful tools to the U.S. Web Design Standards development workflow that allow us to preview, test, and publish the Standards code more quickly and easily. Fractal Fractal is a powerful and flexible framework for building interactive component libraries. It’s similar to Jekyll (which we use to publish the Standards site) in Read »

The New FEC.gov

Jun 6, 2017 | ,

Last week, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) unveiled their new website at FEC.gov. This new site is the result of a years-long collaboration with GSA’s 18F and features completely revamped tools for exploring campaign finance data. It provides user-centered content for understanding the reporting and compliance requirements for people participating in federal elections, redesigned tools Read »

​Want to Expand Your Innovation Base? Dive In, Run a Challenge, and Listen to Your Customers

May 24, 2017 |

The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) is a small agency in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) whose mission is to increase the interoperability and use of electronic health records and health IT. We don’t have the funding and personnel of larger agencies, and, for the most part, this is fine. The Read »

GetMyFuture.org: Essential Youth Resources, Now

May 2, 2017 |

They say that life can be summed up as the process of a series of doors closing. By that, they mean that opportunities for taking different paths start to disappear as you move through life. It’s a logical sentiment, but there’s an obverse to it. When you’re young, all those doors are open. Doors as far as you can see. It’s all about learning how to make informed decisions about what doors to wander through. Read »

Engineering the Chaski Relay: A Touchscreen Game at the National Museum of the American Indian

Mar 31, 2017 |

On visiting The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, it is impossible not be taken by the sheer scale of the Inka Road. Qhapaq Ñan, or the Road of the Inka, is a 25,000-mile long road system that fed the rapid expansion of the Inka Read »

New ITIF Report Inspires a Closer Look at Website Performance and Security—Here Is Where to Begin

Mar 24, 2017 |

The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) recently published a report, Benchmarking U.S. Government Websites, that looks at the performance, security, and accessibility of the top 297 government websites. ITIF is a think tank in Washington, D.C. whose mission is to formulate, evaluate, and promote policy solutions that accelerate innovation in technology and public policy. Read »

Presenting Online Data to Wide-Ranging User Communities

Mar 20, 2017 |

Presenting data online that will serve a wide range of users can be challenging. It requires an understanding of the target users’ needs, interests, and familiarity with the use of data handling tools. This challenge can be especially daunting for government websites that present data for use by the general public. The audience for such Read »

U.S. Web Design Standards Releases Version 1.0

Mar 13, 2017 |

The U.S. Web Design Standards are a library of design guidelines and code to help government developers quickly create trustworthy, accessible, and consistent digital government services. Last month, we announced the 1.0 release of the Standards, a milestone that signals the Standards are a stable, trustworthy resource for government designers and developers. By using the Read »

Congress.gov Homepage Highlights, Alerts, and More Enhancements

Nov 16, 2016 |

This has been an exciting and successful year for Congress.gov. We accomplished a major milestone when we retired THOMAS in July. Over the course of 2016, we completed a number of enhancements to Congress.gov. In April we expanded quick search to include the Congressional Record, Committee Reports, Nominations, Treaty Documents, and Communications. In May we launched several new RSS feeds and Read »

Writing for the Web Is Easy. Writing for Users Is Not.

Nov 7, 2016 | , ,

We all do it. Whether on Twitter, Facebook, or the comment section on a news article, it’s easy to get our writing on the internet. Many of us have personal websites or contribute to blogs. We work at organizations with content management systems that allow us to publish pages with a single button click. The Read »

DigitalGov Readers and Subscribers: We Want to Talk to You

Oct 25, 2016 |

As you know, over the last few years DigitalGov has surfaced the innovative advancements many are making across the government space while providing a platform for learning best practices and coming together as a community. Over the course of the next few weeks, a small team from Read »

Announcing the Digital Acquisition Accelerator Playbook

Oct 20, 2016 |

Built on the lessons learned during the pilot phase of the Digital Acquisitions Accelerator, the accompanying playbook examines the current acquisition landscape and provides an approach to procuring custom software solutions. Read »

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