Stories of software actually getting built in more typical ways inside government are seldom shared, but they are important reminders of the awesome work happening on the ground every day. This is the story of Vets.gov, a website built from the ground up in a (mostly) modern way.
In March 2017, two USDSers, Jeff Barnes and Tyler Bolchoz, traveled to the West Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind to conduct a usability study for the upcoming launch of the new HUBZone Map service. Through the study, the team was ensuring an equivalent user experience for everyone.
Technological upgrades to VA’s resources — like the GI Bill Comparison Tool on vets.gov — have made it easier for Veterans like John to answer their biggest questions about their education benefits. The Comparison Tool is just one of several digital resources VA offers to help Veterans and their families get information about education programs and make the best decision to meet their goals.
At the end of 2016, Carola Ponce, along with other members of Education Digital Service team, conducted a discovery sprint for the Federal Student Aid program (FSAID), which allows student and parents to identify themselves electronically in order to access the Federal Student Aid websites. In order to understand how the services are truly being used, interacted with, and where pain points are met, technologists at the USDS make designing with users not only a priority, but a requirement.