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In recent months, the topic of User Needs and User Experience has come up several times:

  • at the Denver workshop as an important consideration when developing USGS tools, 
  • in the last CDI Scientist's Challenge about web design.

I'm looking for presenters, ideas, resources that we can tap to continue the UX discussion at CDI.

If anyone is particularly into this topic and would like to take on the role of bringing UX topics into CDI, let me know!

Here are some initial resources for you to check out. 


  2. Ux-cop listserv
    1. Anyone with a government email address can join by sending a request to UX-COP-request@LISTSERV.GSA.GOV.
    2. To get to the archives of all UX listserv emails, register with the listserv at
  3. OPM training on Human Centered Design:
  4. UXBooth
  5. ESIP Usability Cluster


That is just skimming the surface. 

Suggest additions or request presentations.

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  1. Usability resources, tips, lessons

    Here's some information from a recent thread on the UX-COP listserv:

    Our communications team will be conducting some usability testing in the upcoming months for our institute’s website. Before moving forward, I wanted to reach out to this fantastic group to see if anyone has recent website usability findings reports, best practice tips, lessons learned from usability testing or updating their websites that they would be willing to share with us? [-Diana Finegold of NIH]


    Response 1:
    ...I saw your post to the UX-COP. I have been doing usability testing for a while and would be glad to provide suggestions. I would go to and for usability testing tips. The book “Don’t Make Me Think” by Dan Krug is a great primer on how to test information architecture labels. There are many different types of tests to fit different needs – remote vs in-person, moderated vs unmoderated, first-click, tree testing, card sorting, etc. It all depends on what you need to test, your resources, and where you are in the development process. There are some off-the-shelf tools such as and Optimal Workshop products that can save time (if your testing needs align with their product). ... [Sheila Walsh, FDA]

    Response 2:
    I've done some usability tests in the past and found that it's helpful to think about the end deliverable as you do your planning. Specifically, what documents or reports do you plan to share, what should they include, and who do you plan to share them with?

    For example, in the last usability report I worked on, the audience was both upper level management as well as the designers and developers who would implement my recommendations. So, I made sure to include an executive summary at the start for the managers, summarizing user feedback and discussing primary areas for improvement. When I emailed the report to the managers, I noted that they could find the summary and conclusions on that page, so that they didn't have to scroll through it to find the high-level summary.

    After the executive summary, I shared the usability findings in five sections. Each section was tied to a specific user task. For example, section 1 was setting up an account, section 2 was updating their information, section 3 was requesting information, etc. (These tasks were determined before we started user testing, and aligned with our user testing script.) Each section of the report included a summary of how well users were able to accomplish that specific task, and each page had screenshots of the website as users accomplished that task. Including screenshots made the report rather long, but it allowed me to easily point out specific elements on the page that worked well or didn't work well for users. For example, on a screenshot with a "Confirm" button, I had a callout that included a quote from a user, saying, "This button says 'confirm,' but it's gray... does that mean that I can't click it yet?" When I heard specific comments multiple times, I included a note after the quote saying, "Two other users voiced similar opinions," or something to that extent to show that this was a common thought among users. Including quotes from users helped support my recommendations in the executive summary.

    Be sure to include a table of contents (if possible, hyperlink the table of contents to the respective sections), and tell readers in the email on which pages they can find information most relevant to them. If there are specific areas of detail that are relevant only to one or two people, I included that in an appendix to make it clear that not everyone needed to sift through that particular information. [- Kristin Faiferlick, NOAA]


  2. In clicking around the links above, I came across this article which I found pretty accurate:

    How to Present Scientific Findings Online

    Especially this: "But be aware that, when determining if the content is meant for them or a general audience, experts look at the visual design of the sites they visit. If the visual design looks too polished or flashy, it might turn them off." "The trendy visual design of caused an environmental scientist to feel that this site was designed for the general public,  not researchers"

    (It's hard to win, isn't it.)


  3. Here are a few resources shared by Dave Govoni on some of the basics of User Experience and Information Architecture:

    "Some of my favorite overview materials relating to Information Architecture (IA) and User Experience (UX) theory and design. Oldies but goodies."



  4. DigitalGov's YouTube Channel has a Playlist for User Experience

    Some of the videos are a few years old, but if you see a topic that you'd like to see even more about, let us know on the forum or at

  5. Another contribution from Dave Govoni:

    Another good resource for all things IA is The Information Architecture Institute ( Pointers o lots of good resources.

  6. Good Gov UX

    "We are a group of private, federal and city professionals who want to build more effective and more satisfying government experiences."

    our mission

    to drive the adoption of a common set of UX best practices within the government agency and government contracting communities.

    They are currently convening three teams on

    • Terminology and Definitions
    • RFP/Proposal Language
    • Deliverables and Best Practices

    They have a mailing list you can sign up for at the link.