Katie Steffy

Katie Steffy, a rising senior at Virginia Tech, is earning a double degree in Dairy Science and Political Science with an emphasis in Legal Studies. She is interning with DigitalGov.gov’s Mobile Gov team for summer 2014.

Paper Prototyping PTSD Coach

The PTSD Coach mobile app from the Department of Veterans Affairs, provides veterans and users with information about PTSD and professional care, along with self-assessment tools and aid in finding support opportunities. The app has been downloaded over 100,000 times in 74 countries around the world, received numerous accolades and has spawned versions in both Australia and Canada. Designed for users that are both in treatment and not, this application is a poster-child for the benefits of user testing and paper prototyping.

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Top 5 Reasons to Use Government-wide Open and Structured Content Models

Content models provide an opportunity for agencies to structure, organize, distribute, and better publish information in multiple forms and on multiple platforms. Federal agencies discussed why content models are important for future-facing content in our What Structured Content Models Can Do For You Webinars in May and June. The point—with good content models, a single piece of Web content becomes an adaptive information asset that can be leveraged anytime, anywhere.

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Parents Get a Head Start With New Mobile App

As it’s time to return to school, the Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families is helping parents and teachers prepare anytime, anywhere. Head Start Resources, an app available on iOS and Android, is a gateway to tools and resources for those associated with or interested in the program. With the app, users can access: The latest and greatest in Head Start News and updates, The nearest Head Start locations with a map feature that utilizes geolocation, Links to their website via a search function, with resources pertaining to Performance Standards and information about the Head Start Act, and Help by utilizing the “Contact Us” section, featuring a phone number, email, office hours, and an interactive form.

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Customization is Key to Better Mobile User Experience

Resources like Theresa Neil’s Mobile Design Product Gallery book and Mobile-patterns.com describe, and provide examples of, common features mobile developers can implement and tailored further to satisfy their users. As mentioned in this week’s Trends on Tuesday, customizing apps to meet users’ needs is a crucial part in maximizing user experience. Today, we wanted to highlight how some agencies are implementing search, maps & geolocation and custom navigation to better their mobile product’s user experience.

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Trends on Tuesday: Avoid the “App Graveyard”

Apps that are downloaded, used a few times and then never used again, are considered part of the “app graveyard.” In fact, 95% of apps are discarded within a month of download by users, according to Smashing Magazine. By focusing on creating a great user experience, you can make sure your agency apps are used consistently and don’t end up in the app graveyard. Smashing Magazine lists some “Lessons Learned From the App Graveyard” that government agencies should heed.

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Trends on Tuesday: FCC Finds Rise in Mobile Internet Subscriptions

Approximately 70% of American households have a fixed Internet source of 0.2 megabits per second or greater, according to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Measuring Broadband Across America Report that analyzes the digital divide in the U.S. Up 15% in the last decade, this increase in Internet subscription source has significant impact on how citizens are receiving, utilizing, and sharing vital information. There were two interesting highlights for mobile implementers:

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Solving a MobileGov Mystery: Using Open Source CMS to Implement Responsive Web Design

Responsive Web design is widely-known as a go-to solution for designing a website to fit on any device’s screen size. As we found in our February workshop, federal agencies are implementing it for various reasons. There are various ways to implement responsive design. Some agencies have implemented it via structured data and content modeling and others have completely redesigned their website. Agencies who are not yet at that point are looking for ways they can begin.

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Mobile REMM App: New Physicians’ Aid

The Department of Health and Human Service’s Mobile REMM App provides physicians and emergency medical staff with the latest and greatest information concerning radioactive and nuclear emergencies. Available on iOS, Android, and Blackberry platforms, the native application showcases comprehensive information concerning dose estimators and resources to initiate a variety of triages on site without requiring mobile connectivity. After its April update to 2.0.1, users now have access to management algorithms that provide scenario-based flowcharts to help in treatment decision making.

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Three Ways Agencies Are Using Social Media in Mobile Products

As highlighted in this Trends on Tuesday post, time spent on mobile phones—about 3 hours per day—has surpassed that of daily PC usage. This yields a significant opportunity for consumer interaction with federal agencies’ mobile apps, not just websites, and social media outlets. To take advantage of new opportunities for consumer interaction, federal agencies are implementing social media as part of their mobile products. We surveyed the mobile products submitted to the Federal Apps Registry to see how agencies are incorporating social media into their mobile products.

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