Putting people first
Human-centered design helps the public sector deliver services that work for everyone.
From principle to practice.
Human-centered design describes the process of learning about and deeply empathizing with users’ lived experiences, needs, and wants through immersive research. It also includes applying that learned information in order to create a better experience; evaluating and continuously iterating through data and ongoing user research; and evolving to better respond to the needs of those who use services.
When residents need access to economic and wellbeing supports, it often comes during some of the hardest moments of their lives. Access to public benefits should therefore be intuitive and seamless and not create additional challenges to overcome. However, the world of benefits delivery has yet to catch up to the full potential of human-centered design, which in turn limits the full potential of health and human services. Here, find information about human-centered design that can help your organization reduce barriers for residents seeking services while improving processes for frontline staff.
Blueprint for a Human-Centered Safety Net
Describes the Principles of a Human-Centered Safety Net: Many Welcoming Doors, Easy to Understand, Clients Can Make Informed Decisions, Responsive to Changing Needs, Simple Actions
The Qualitative Research Practice Guide
This guide touches on everything from Code for America’s core research philosophy, to our approach to ethics and trauma-informed research, to specific research methods. It also includes plenty of practical tips on planning and executing research, as well as how to synthesize your findings into action.
Strengthening public benefits with human-centered redesign
Redesigning benefits delivery using a human-centered approach has the potential to catalyze systemic changes that positively impact residents, frontline staff, and government agencies.
Whether your agency has received funds through the American Rescue Plan Act earmarked for modernizing benefits delivery or you are simply committed to improving processes within your organization, you’re in the right place. The resources in this collection can help you brainstorm, learn from successful examples, scope and plan your project, and build internal design and redesign capacity.
Starting Small with Human-Centered Redesign: Approachable Ideas for State and Local Public Benefits Agencies to Improve Applications, Renewals, and Correspondence
This guide highlights approachable ideas for state and local public benefits agencies to improve applications, renewals, and correspondence. As outlined in this resource, even small improvements can be transformative for residents and caseworkers alike.
Going Big with Human-Centered Redesign
Redesigning benefits applications, renewals, and correspondence using human-centered design is one of the most impactful things state and local government agencies can do to ensure that all eligible residents can access social safety net resources. This guide includes practical insights for benefits administrators considering a comprehensive redesign of benefits delivery processes.
Case StudiesView all Case Studies
Accessible Content for Economic Recovery
The federal government authorized stimulus payments and the expanded Child Tax Credit to support American taxpayers through the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this could have denied benefits to the millions of low-income Americans who were not required to file taxes and who needed help the most.
Austin Homelessness Advisory Committee
On a single night in Austin, an average of 2,500 people experience homelessness. 60% of those individuals sleep in a place that is considered uninhabitable. While shelter is limited, individuals also choose to opt out of shelter for reasons like having to separate from partners or pets.
MIBridges: Making Online Benefit Websites Work More Effectively
Millions of Michigan residents receive public assistance through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). Half of them tried to apply for and access these benefits online. However, the existing application was not mobile-friendly and it required more than 45 minutes to complete. This created delays and frustrating experiences for residents and agency staff.