A UX Primer for Public Procurement

This learning path provides an introduction to user experience (UX) in the public sector, techniques for incorporating UX principles into solicitation design, and recommendations for evaluating proposals that include UX components.

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    Don't make me think

    In the year 2000, a man named Steve Krug wrote what many consider to be the gospel of human computer interaction and web usability. Its a book that everyone would benefit from reading, and the title is so appropriately simple and instructive that its worth calling out:

    Don't make me think.

    What does that have to do with usability? If you've ever bought a product that works straight out of the box, with no need for instruction or tutorial, you can thank a UX professional. Good design maps utility to intuition, navigation to instinct. If done correctly, the user doesn't think about using the product, they just...do. 

    Of course the "don't think" concept only applies to product and web usability, and not to this learning path! As you progress through this selection of resources carefully curated by the volunteers of GoodGovUX, we will make you think critically to incorporate the principles of user experience into the public procurement lexicon.

    When you are finished with this path, you will be able to:

    1. Formulate a definition of what user experience (UX) means to you

    2. Describe what happens when digital services are built without leveraging UX principles

    3. Appreciate why UX increases the value of public sector digital services

    4. Design evaluation criteria that reflect UX best practices

    Let's get started with a brief history of UX!

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    A brief history of user experience

    If you think UX has only been around since the dawn of the internet, think again. Its not just the province of coders and developers, UX informs nearly everything you experience in the physical world. In this engaging article from Ali Rushdan Tariq's InVision blog, learn about the evolution of usability dating all the way back to Leonardo da Vinci.

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    Why User Experience Matters

    As the name suggests, user experience (UX) is the process of gaining a deep understanding of how actual people interact with a digital service. In this SlideShare presentation, UX professionals Geoff Mackey and Greg Harron from Centerline Digital provide a visually pleasing overview of what UX is, what it is NOT, and why it is critical to any product or service with a customer-facing interaction. It includes side-by-side examples of good and bad UX design to reinforce its importance for digital services.

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    User Experience Basics

    UX principles help product teams identify what their users need and what they value. UX also accounts for product goals and objectives, helping teams deliver intended business outcomes. In this article from Usability.gov, you will learn how UX best practices improve the quality of the user's interaction with, and perceptions of, your product and related services.

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    If UX is Critical, Why Do People Ignore It?

    In "Common arguments for ignoring UX (and how to destroy them)," Jason Amunwa discusses why UX principles are ignored while introducing techniques to win the hearts and minds of your staunchest skeptics. From the Digital Telepathy blog.

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    What's in it for me? Return on Investment.

    In this animated video, Dr. Susan Weinschenk demonstrates how user centered design produces significant return on investment (ROI) when applied to digital service projects.

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    Evaluating UX in Public Contracts

    Now that you have a basic understanding of UX, you can begin to think of how to buy it. This document provides an outline of the UX lifecycle with suggested qualities and competencies to look for in an offeror's submission. It should be used after the acquisition planning phase when you are ready to design an evaluation strategy. This is an alpha release and we hope to collect feedback on its utility and application, so please share your thoughts in the Google Doc or in the comments section of this resource.

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    Please give us your feedback!

    Thank you for completing this introductory learning path from GoodGovUX! We want to continue supporting your journey as a public procurement professional into the principles of user experience. Please take a moment to answer the following questions so we can invest more time and energy into areas of impact for you!

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