U.S. Citizenship

Designing the Application for Naturalization

 

As a user experience designer at Excella Consulting, I worked on myUSCIS, a suite of tools and resources to improve the immigration experience. I designed the online Application for Naturalization, transforming over 50 pages of paper forms and instructions into a simple digital experience, so that it is easier to become a U.S. Citizen. As we developed this application, we worked with immigrants to make sure the new experience was easy and understandable, regardless of what their native language is. The following outlines some of the features I’m most proud of.


A Comprehensive Design System

Building off of the U.S. Web Design Standards, I 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


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.


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. In the online Application for Naturalization, information the users need is accessible in context, directly under the question. Information that may only be helpful to a subset of users, is there when you look for it. 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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