How we approach our work
Product framing helps our team think about and focus on the problem we’re here to solve.
While product framing documents are not typical in an Alpha, we created it to encourage our team to think in new terms, ask questions and learn as we go. It provides a rubric against which we can measure our progress and our learnings. And it informs and guides us at every level of our work as we research, prioritize, test, design, code, iterate, iterate, and iterate again.
The people of California need information and services offered by the State of California. Currently, California state government digital information and services are disparate, spread across multiple domains and websites. Each state organization manages its content and experience differently, causing a lack of cohesiveness, findability, accessibility, security, and performance across all California government websites. This lack of organization leads to a lack of trust and low satisfaction from the people we intend to serve.
Users often rely on unofficial, third-party resources to find official state services and information because they can’t find what they are looking for on current official government websites. This can lead to further distrust among users when it comes to the authenticity of the information or service they’re seeking.
It’s essential that there be a unified, verifiable source of official state information optimized for delivery, focused on delivering services and information for the people of California.
Our goal is to create a better digital experience for users. Our vision for doing that is to create a unified, trusted, online presence for State government. This vision is built on incremental iterations starting with improving search of online government services and information, to making user research and product design core functions of service design, and, most importantly, soliciting and taking action on feedback from Californians.
Alpha is the first iteration of a better digital experience. CA.gov will ultimately show the people of California that their government is committed to meeting the needs of the people of California. The experience will be simpler, clearer, faster, and more accessible for all Californians searching for state government information and services. They will recognize CA.gov as the official California state government website. It will give them the comprehensive state government information and services that they seek. The public will be able to find their services without knowing the names or acronyms of the related State organization or program.
Our goal is to use the power of digital to deliver the services that any given Californian knows they need, as well as those services they might qualify for, and need, but not be aware of.
What we want to learn
- How can user research and content design help meet user needs
- What it takes for government to work in the open
- How to best set up a highly effective digital services team
What we’re not trying to do
- Redesign all of the State of California’s digital government services
- Set the State of California’s technology strategy
- Maintain traditional practices in digital or technology strategy and execution
Product assumptions and dependencies
- That people go first to their government official website to find what they’re looking for.
- That we understand what matters most to people
- That the way users currently find government services online is their preferred method
- That users don’t care about an agency-focused approach
Prioritization criteria for user needs
The Alpha will be based on initial user needs that are selected with data, intuition, and experimentation. The following criteria will be used to assess the overall impact of the user story.
- Total reach (population)
- Biggest area for improvement
- Level of complexity
- Level of urgency
- Who (individuals or business)
- Vulnerable populations
- Topical for Californians
- Positive, “wow-factor,” innovative
- Common or specific need
- Ability to capture data analytics
- Public facing issue
- Existing effort already in place
- Stakeholder priority
- Measurable impact
- Open/helpful departments
- Discrete part of information or service
- Long term, push to Beta