Make it simple and intuitive

"Using a government service shouldn’t be stressful, confusing, or daunting. It’s our job to build services that are simple and intuitive enough that users succeed the first time, unaided." - CIO Playbook

Take a moment and consider your favorite apps,  the ones you rely on every day.  My favorite apps all have a few things in common, they are simple, they get things done, they live on my mobile devices and I don't need to squint to use them.   Truly great applications are built around the user and around their life space.  

Dozens of books have been written about the topic of user experience, yet few things are neglected more often than user-centric design.  Most failed apps fail here.  The focus of application design is not simply to please the eye but to be usable and usable means functional.  

As I have stated many times, the arbitrator of functionality is the user.   If you release an app without their feedback, it most often will not succeed.  Great app designers embrace user feedback as precious data.   Aesthetics are important but orientation is vital.  A great looking application that does not get things done is a short-lived app.  So, remember the old acronym we learned in grammar school and Keep it Simple Stupid (KISS).

From the playbook:

1.    Use a simple and flexible design style guide for the service. Use the U.S. Web Design Standards as a default
2.   Use the design style guide consistently for related digital services
3.   Give users clear information about where they are in each step of the process
4.   Follow accessibility best practices to ensure all people can use the service
5.   Provide users with a way to exit and return later to complete the process
6.   Use language that is familiar to the user and easy to understand
7.   Use language and design consistently throughout the service, including online and offline touch points
Key Questions
1.    What primary tasks are the user trying to accomplish?
2.   Is the language as plain and universal as possible?
3.   What languages is your service offered in?
4.   If a user needs help while using the service, how do they go about getting it?
5.   How does the service’s design visually relate to other government services?

 - Robert (


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