USDS Experts from VA, HHS say Design With, Not For, Users

“The government needs to provide products and digital services that allow users to easily accomplish what they need to do, according to experts from the U.S. Digital Services discussing tech development challenges and ways to mitigate issues before they arise using human-centered design.”

“‘Risk is something that we talk about a lot in government, and I really believe that design is a way to mitigate these things,’ said Jennifer Noinaj, a senior user experience designer at the Department of Homeland Security’s Digital Services arm, during last week’s Disruptive Tech Summit.”

“By creatively understanding what people need rather than what they want to get down to their true objectives, human-centered design is essential to de-risking tech projects, she said.”

“One of USDS’ core values in the process is also to design with users, not for them. This includes making all humans involved in the product development process, not just the citizens affected at the end of a product’s lifecycle, said Executive Director for the Department of Health and Human Services’ Digital Services Misu Tasnim…”

“Still, when a tech product or service is not designed with people in mind, it tends to stray far away from what it was initially intended to do, said Lauren Alexanderson, health product and design lead at the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Digital Services.”

“One problem, Alexanderson said, is making sure that the solutions proposed and problems written into policies are as close to the users as possible. To address this, the VA has recently included a human-centered design requirement in every tech contract it releases…”

“To solve these issues, Alexanderson suggested contractors focus on improving hiring practices.”

“‘We need you to come with really good people — people who are not just out of the eight-week run-of-the-mill course,’ she said. ‘Invest in people. Invest in people who can do this work…’” Read the full article here.

Source: USDS Experts: Design With, Not For, Users – By Faith Ryan, February 6, 2020. GovernmentCIO.

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