U.S. Citizenship Tools

Designed the Application for Naturalization and web tools for myUSCIS 

myUSCIS strives to improve the immigration experience with clear information, simple applications, and easy-to-use tools. As a user experience designer at Excella Consulting, I worked on myUSCIS, designing the Application for Naturalization, an eligibility tool, a pattern library, and the online account experience.

Brief

Design simple, responsive web tools for the millions of people who need services from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

A Naturalization ceremony at the Baltimore field office.

A Naturalization ceremony at the Baltimore field office.


Timeline

2016

Team

Worked with cross-functional agile teams at Excella Consulting.

Services

User research and analysis, stakeholder management, information architecture, UI design, accessibility and usability testing, workshop facilitation

Approach

Our approach depended on the tools we were building. For the Application for Naturalization, we did research to understand the experience of filling out this form. We designed the information architecture, re-did the copy in plain language, and prototyped the form. Throughout our process we tested designs with users at USCIS field offices. As we iterated on the designs, we worked on cross-functional teams to build each application. Our frequent research was vital to our success and informed all of the products we built.

Outcome

myUSCIS is a work in progress and the team continues to build plain language applications for immigration benefits. The Application for Naturalization is used by over 20,000 people annually, and hundreds of thousands of other people use the other tools we designed, like the practice civics test.


The Eligibility Tool

Every year, thousands of immigrants submit applications for benefits they are not eligible for, wasting time and money. The eligibility tool takes users through a series of binary questions to determine which path to citizenship is right for them.


Document Center

Designed a portal where users can easily manage their files. When users upload files to a form, they are stored here for easy re-use. It is also a place to manage USCIS letters and other official documentation.

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A Comprehensive Design System

Building off of the U.S. Web Design Standards, we created the myUSCIS Design System. As a result, the form is consistent, provides details when necessary, and gives users ample opportunities to correct any errors.

In-line form warnings help users correct mistakes

In-line form warnings help users correct mistakes

 
Alerts tell users when something went wrong

Alerts tell users when something went wrong

Mobile chart pattern helps users track sets of information, like address history

Mobile chart pattern helps users track sets of information, like address history

 
Different layouts are used to present different types of information

Different layouts are used to present different types of information


Error-proof Date Input

Dates, and date ranges, cause a lot of error in forms, especially for ESL users who come from places that structure their dates differently. The pattern I developed has built in validation and leaves little room for human error, and as an accessibility nerd I’m really proud of this.

 
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Help when you need it

The paper form includes A LOT of instruction, overloading applicants with information and leaving very little chance the applicant will remember the info when they need it. As a result, too many people rely on lawyers to fill out these forms for them.

The read more pattern we developed previews the information so those who need it know to expand the content, but it doesn’t take up precious screen space or create information overload for those who don’t.

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