Nationwide, agencies are eagerly awaiting the new President’s Management Agenda (PMA). Like its predecessors, Joe Biden’s PMA will list activities and initiatives aimed at improving government effectiveness and efficiency.
But until Biden’s PMA appears, agencies can only guess how it will impact their digital products, services and websites. Although the new PMA is expected in April, on Thursday, four government thought leaders explained how agencies can serve their users better now. During GovLoop’s latest online training, the group discussed how agencies can strengthen their digital user experience (UX).
Tina Pemberton, Digital Platform Leader at Federal Student Aid (FSA) and Tait Chamberlain, FSA’s Lead UX Designer, represented the public sector.
Mike Steckel, UX Director at Mighty Citizen and Stephen Tidmore, Mighty Citizen’s Vice President of Technology, appeared on the private sector’s behalf. Mighty Citizen is a marketing, branding and digital communications provider.
Here are four tips Thursday’s speakers shared for elevating your agency’s UX before Biden’s PMA materializes:
1. Leverage analytics
Analytics systematically discover, interpret and share patterns in data. According to Chamberlain, analytics can help agencies determine how their websites can serve users better.
“Analytics are also the voice of the user,” he said. “It is incredibly valuable to see where users are clicking. They will tell you if they are avoiding certain links or products.”
2. Facilitate users’ goals
Pemberton recommended agencies focus on what their users want to accomplish when interacting with their digital offerings. At FSA, the focus is on providing financial aid to students.
“They don’t come to our website for the joy of looking at federal websites,” she said of FSA’s users. “They’re coming to our websites to complete a task. How do we cut through confusion and clutter?”
3. Prioritize performance
According to Tidmore, agencies need digital services that work across multiple platforms. Whether they prefer laptops, smartphones, tablets or other devices, all users want content they can access quickly and easily.
“Performance is important for your website,” he said. “You need to make sure it is responsive across all screen sizes.”
4. Design with a purpose
According to Steckel, agencies will collect better metrics about their digital offerings if they design each of them for one purpose.
Take websites that register citizens for COVID-19 vaccinations. Pages like these should not distract users with other options that are unrelated to coronavirus vaccines.
“It is about one action you want the user to take on that page,” Steckel said. “It lets you look at those metrics and see if users are taking that action.”
The time is now
Chamberlain also suggested there is no time like the present for prioritizing UX. Rather than wait for the PMA’s release, he urged agencies to make user outreach part of their operations today.
“Make talking to users a regular experience,” Chamberlain said. “If there’s something you want to do when it is a fire drill, do it when it is not a fire drill.”
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