According to NextGov, the false alarm sent out to Hawaiian citizens by a state employee last January is just one example of how human error (and poorly designed systems) can be disastrous for an agency and the people it serves.
Human-centered design is the discipline that ensures government systems make sense and are usable to both employees and citizens. Every government service is meaningful to some group of constituents, and if user experience is not given priority, the agency is putting its effectiveness at risk.
From the article:
An experience strategist, trained in user research, can observe what people are familiar with and what they prefer. UX design teams can create the prototypes. Content strategists and information architects can choose the wording and order the information. UX researchers can test it all prior to implementation. And then the experience team can iterate regularly as it makes new discoveries grounded in actual data.
Human-centered design is a well-established discipline, but for government, it’s a new way of thinking. Government doesn’t yet often prioritize funding dedicated to experience design-centric iterations on its systems (most proposal requests never cover it). Often, a lot of resources are spent maintaining legacy systems and the old way of doing business instead. That focus needs to change to increase the likelihood that citizens get the right information and services at the right time.
Read the full article: Is your government system one human error away from crisis? | NextGov