The Biden-Harris President’s Management Agenda Vision (PMA) lays the foundation for an effective, equitable, and accountable government that delivers results for all Americans through three priority areas. Periodically we share stories that highlight real-world examples of one of the three PMA priorities. As a continuation of October’s CX story, learn how USAGov is reaching the public in new ways with beta.USA.gov and beta.USA.gov/es.
USA.gov and USAGov en Español improve access to government resources and services spread across multiple agencies. Between USAGov’s role as a High Impact Service Provider and the December 2021 Executive Order on Transforming Federal Customer Experience and Service Delivery to Rebuild Trust in Government, the team is working to make government information and services more accessible and user-driven.
A New Front Door to Government Services
On October 31, 2022, USAGov launched beta versions of USA.gov and USAGov en Español: beta.USA.gov and beta.USA.gov en Español. A beta version is one that is made available for testing before its general release. Just as with private sector websites, USAGov’s beta testing lets users try out new concepts, test new features, and provide feedback before the official release. USAGov will use this data to refine the two sites before they’re officially launched.
Beta testing is allowing USAGov to:
- Offer new and better ways to present content and access to services
- Redefine concept scope to focus on the public’s needs
- Make content easier to find, so visitors can easily get to the information they need
- Understand the guiding approaches to beta.usa.gov and beta.usa.gov/es, and how the websites help position USAGov as the public’s front door
To meet these goals, USAGov is:
Focusing on human-centered design: Public needs are at the core of how the team is developing the beta sites. Principles include using mobile-first and/or Spanish-first design and addressing one user need per content page. Public needs and interests change over time, so the team will iterate on the websites using feedback surveys, analytics trends, user testing, and other data.
An example of this work is building content around life experiences, which includes the content people need when facing life changes like financial hardship, parenthood, or retirement.
Using technology that works for people and the USAGov team: When building the new content management system, the team used the U.S. Web Design System (USWDS). The USWDS is a toolkit of principles, guidance, and code that makes it easier to build accessible, mobile-friendly government websites. This includes the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act and other executive guidance to make everyone’s digital experience better.
Using the USWDS allows USAGov content designers and editors to add structure and components directly, alleviating the pressure on technical developers. This method allows the team to easily include clearer visual cues to accomplish tasks, easy ways to scan content, and make the mobile experience better.
Building capabilities and work with other federal agencies: The beta versions allow the team to test changes and new concepts, such as interactive tools, different content structure, and in the future other functionalities like end-to-end service completion, in ways that USA.gov and USAGov en Español never have before. For example, the team is piloting interactive tools that allow visitors to find their elected officials and determine where to report various scams. Further, the sites’ infrastructure lends itself to actionable conversations with partner agencies to explore opportunities for service delivery.
The next steps start with understanding how the new websites work for the public. This includes survey analysis and testing exercises with people, especially those from underserved communities, around the country. User feedback and interactions make it possible to iterate and make necessary improvements before they replace USA.gov and USAGov en Español.