Join us at Civic Design 2022, November 16-18

U.S. Digital Service

U.S. Digital Service (USDS) works across the federal government to deliver better government services to the American people through technology and design. We’re made up of designers, content specialists, researchers, data scientists, engineers, product managers and other digital service experts that come from diverse backgrounds, and join USDS for tours of civic service to create a steady influx of fresh perspectives to transform critical digital services. We seek to do the greatest good for the greatest number of people in the greatest need.

Equity by design: 20 versions, 16 people, 8 agencies, 2 weeks, 1 form to prevent evictions

It is already intimidating to be facing down an eviction during a global pandemic. And government forms aren’t known for being simple. But in two weeks, partners across government collaborated to create a more accessible and approachable Eviction Protection Form. Learn more about how they did it.

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Chat with U.S. Digital Service on Slack
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Forms are the front door to government services—for everything from getting a job to a COVID-19 vaccine—yet their current design creates systemic barriers for LGBTQ+ people.

Forms shape how our government understands, prioritizes, and addresses the needs of its people, but for LGBTQ+ communities, many government forms include demographic questions that are unnecessarily invasive, inadequate, and unclear in their purpose. This deepens mistrust, creates barriers to critical benefits, and prevents collection of data needed to provide effective, equitable services.

In this talk, U.S. Digital Service team members will share lessons learned from direct engagement with an intersectional group of LGBTQ+ nonprofit organizations and researchers and statisticians across government and standards organizations as well as an examination of underlying policies and tech systems. We’ll provide a framework for navigating sexual orientation and gender identity, as a first step toward designing equitable forms for all.

Staying connected and learning from your teammates on a distributed team or in a highly siloed organization can be hard. Written knowledge-bases (if you have them) can be dry or become out of date, and replicating hallway conversations where you can bump into new people or share stories (and commiserations!) with coworkers can feel out of reach in a virtual environment. Despite the obstacles, I’ve found that cultivating an engaged remote community and fostering peer-to-peer knowledge sharing is possible. This talk will cover real-world tactics I use at the US Digital Service to engage communities and empower people to be resources to each other, whether they’re in the same room or thousands of miles apart.