Badlands

Streamlining the US Visa application process through interface design.
Olin College of Engineering

Project Brief

Scenario and rough design idea

Before: James has just moved to the United States and is trying to find information from his local government about schools in the area. He wants to make an informed decision about where to send his children to school. He goes online to his government’s website and spends 15 minutes trying to find the information he needs, but can’t figure out the website’s confusing navigation. He tries to call a number provided on the website, but the office is closed and only opens three days a week. James works full time, and can’t make the timings work for his schedule. He becomes incredibly frustrated with the process as the school registration deadline looms closer.

After: James complains about his frustrations on the phone with his friend. His friend advises him to visit a new site he’s heard of, schoolinfo.gov. James tries the site and immediately loves the intuitive navigation. A chat box appears and asks what he is looking for. James says he wants to learn about local schools, and the information automatically pops up. An overview of schools in the area as well as registration deadlines is sent to his email address. He leaves the site feeling

Value Proposition

Government information is difficult to find and understand for the average American citizen – it is even harder for those who have just moved to the country. Our project aims to make this information more accessible to immigrants and offer it in a more human way.

Methods

We’re starting off with a broad user group of American immigrants. If we see a specific need for one type of information (such as school information, voting information, water quality, etc.), we will narrow down. We will start off with user interviews, and perhaps government advocacy groups for specific issues. Example questions are:

  • Have you visited the website for your local/state government? Why/why not?
  • If you have visited the website, did you find it intuitive? Why/why not? Were you able to find the information you needed quickly and easily (or at all)?
  • What issues do you care about? Why? Could the government help?
  • What don’t you care about, and what could make you care?
  • What government information do you wish you had access to?
  • Is government transparency important to you? Why?
  • Could you sketch your ideal interface for a local/state government website?

Teamwork

Our team will work together by using a light agile approach. We’ll use sprints, and have standups, sprint retros, etc. We all want quick prototyping and to be involved in the design process. We can pair design between meetings, and come to the meetings with designs prepared for feedback and decision making.