The Social Security Administration is out with a brand new, beta model of sections of its web site, a part of an ongoing effort to revamp the company’s on-line presence each for present retirees who might discover it complicated and for future retirees who’re digital natives.
“I wish to say that sometime I shall be utilizing the companies that we’re creating right here,” Kim Baldwin Sparks, chief enterprise officer at SSA, informed FCW. “All of us have a way of wanting to depart for our generations and past one thing that’s maybe simpler to navigate as a person, particularly on-line.”
This redesign is an effort that began a little bit over a 12 months in the past, she says, earlier than the Biden administration launched an govt order particularly directing companies to enhance buyer expertise, however the effort nonetheless falls according to the government-wide push to make companies simpler to make use of.
The brand new beta model of the web site, introduced in an April 18 weblog publish, was constructed with the assistance of the U.S. Digital Service. The company is asking for suggestions through a button on the beta web page itself. Company officers say they’re going to use that suggestions to enhance the positioning earlier than changing the present SSA.gov web site later this 12 months.
New content material in beta model is proscribed to a couple sections, together with the homepage and a few retirement materials, stated Eric Powers, govt advisor at SSA who’s been engaged on the mission. Different sections of the positioning shall be rolled out in coming months.
“Our clients informed us that we have to do a greater job at making it straightforward for individuals to search out the issues that they should do,” stated Powers. “They arrive to us to do issues, so we’re making an attempt to make the web site a way more transactional place to get service, relatively than to tell the shopper.”
Sparks pointed to a user-centered design course of that particularly included consumer suggestions and an effort to make the language on the web site simpler to grasp.
The brand new web site options an interactive advantages eligibility screener, for instance, that provides a guided question-and-answer course of to assist individuals on the web site perceive what SSA advantages they is perhaps eligible for and level them to methods to apply.
“Usually our clients, the general public, don’t perceive all the applications that Social Security may need for them, or are very overwhelmed concerning eligibility and different standards essential to obtain these advantages,” Powers stated.
SSA is working with US Digital Service on different efforts for cross-government program help that might hyperlink residents to advantages throughout totally different companies that they are eligible for, Powers stated, and outcomes in these efforts will inform the SSA web site sooner or later.
Past this “first stage” of guiding a citizen to the companies they’re searching for is “going deeper and looking out on the full buyer journey as to how our functions and processes help the shopper,” Powers stated.
The CX govt order, for instance, tasked SSA with making a mobile-accessible, on-line course of for People to have the ability to add the documentation or types for SSA applications on-line with out going right into a bodily workplace. The company stated in funds paperwork that it deliberate to report back to the Workplace of Administration and Funds by April 12 on alternatives for course of reforms that might help extra digital and digital companies. SSA additionally plans to help digital signatures and on-line doc uploads.
One other facet of digital authorities companies that is gotten the highlight lately is on-line security and entry, particularly the identification verification instruments utilized by companies. Particularly, the IRS has confronted criticism for its use of ID.me, an identification verification firm that provides facial recognition companies.
At present, each Login.gov and ID.me are provided on the SSA sign-in web page for on-line accounts. The “create an account” hyperlink directs customers to Login.gov.
This redesign did not contact on authentication, stated Sparks.
However security options did floor within the suggestions gathered for the web site, stated Powers.
“Entry to our companies and data is vital to individuals. After they run into limitations with expertise or processes, it at all times comes up,” he defined.
“However on the similar time, we hear that individuals do perceive that their data may be very vital and must be protected,” Powers stated. “There’s a concerted effort to enhance on the charges that we will help the shopper with out working into any situation.”