GSA Blog

GSA Blog Logo
People sitting on a couch and smiling

Putting People at the Center of Digital Government

| Leilani Martínez, Acting Director, Public Experience Portfolio and the Public Experience Team
Post filed in: Technology Transformation Services

USAGov and USAGov en Español are working to reimagine the way we provide government information and services to the public. The USAGov team is an example of how GSA’s Technology Transformation Services (TTS) is aligning and living up to the challenges outlined in the President’s Management Agenda. The focus in 2022 has been on centering the work around the people we serve. 

Reimagining Our Products

Because we’re the federal government’s front door, we’ve created a place for USAGov and USAGov en Español to test ideas and reach the public in new and different ways. We’re  moving forward to share official government information that is actionable, human centered, interactive, and accessible in an iterative way. 

When we launch a new site, we want to make sure we can repeat our success. We call this being iterative. We make small changes, test sites, and make further improvements. We launched and en Español to the public as an important part of our iterative process. In everything we do, we want to deliver a more well-designed, responsive, and trusted digital government experience. 

The updated features in beta are:  

  • Human-centered: We focus on user needs first, based on qualitative and quantitative data.
  • Actionable: We introduce buttons, process lists, tables, and other USWDS components and best practices that offer visual cues of how to do tasks.
  • Interactive: We pilot interactive tools that allow visitors to find their elected officials and determine where to report various scams.
  • Accessible: We design shorter topically focused pages for easier viewing on mobile devices, structured headings for easy scanning, and descriptive hyperlinks.

Delivering Impact

The Executive Order on Transforming Federal Customer Experience and Service Delivery to Rebuild Trust in Government (CX EO) reinforced our customer experience role and expectations. 

In FY22, we launched the Benefits Eligibility Awareness Resource Service. USAGov’s new online locator tool helps people find government services geared to major a life event:

People can use the tool to find the benefits they might be eligible for, such as survivor payments, military funerals, and housing help following the death of a loved one. After answering some simple questions, they will get a custom list of potential federal benefits from a variety of agencies, and learn the steps to apply.

We use inclusive, equitable design practices to improve the customer experience with digital platforms, so we offer the benefits locator in English on and in Spanish on USAGov en Español

Reaching the Public Directly

USAGov uses public engagement campaigns to make government offerings easy to understand. The outreach team builds relationships with agency partners, including supporting public engagement campaigns to reach more people. 

@USAGov and @USAGovEspañol host targeted conversations focused on a specific topic and working closely with partners who answer questions and guide the public to needed information. 

For example, during Hispanic Heritage Month, USAGov en Español partnered with federal agencies for the #TuGobiernoEnEspañol Twitter chat. We let people know what is available in Spanish and how to connect with agencies who can help answer their questions. 

We succeeded! Initial reports show we reached over 50,000 people during the chat. Experts from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) joined us. 

USAGov also guides people to pages that help people and organizations apply for financial help, register to vote, find affordable rental housing, locate mental health services, or even get the latest hurricane disaster recovery assistance. 

Twitter chats continue to be a powerful tactic to broadcast information, address FAQs on any topic from scams prevention to health information, and track conversations with unique hashtags. These special outreach initiatives enable us to involve many agency partners with ease. 

Looking Ahead 

For 2023, we are planning for continuous improvement and more public engagement. We want to reduce barriers to digital services. This involves supercharging our designs to include and organize information that helps the public learn about government programs. 

We’ll build content guides around life experiences on the beta sites and work with partner agencies to make key content accessible to all users. Also, USAGov will explore service completion opportunities from the expectations in the CX EO. We’ll address more complex tasks that might involve developing cross-agency platform technologies. 

Putting people at the center of government information means providing a simple, seamless, and secure customer experience for them. We have changed how we bring together designers, product managers, and digital engineers to deliver trusted government information and access to web services. 

Technology is the critical connective tissue to delivering an outstanding customer experience to the public. By identifying pain points, using up-to-date design, and by harmonizing the actual processes behind the technology, we ensure the public gets what they need from their government. 

Stay connected with the latest updates and information by visiting the USAGov blog.