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GCN : August 2015
have a digital services team --- and the program. The program should own that app, and then they should have the re- sources around them to help build it. And then it should all be tested by customers. Are there hallmarks of a good cus- tomer-experience process or ef- fort that you look for when you are brought in for a conversation? Are there clear signals that something is primed for success --- or obvious red flags? I think a red flag would be, "We built this mobile app, and we'd like to go out and let people test it," as opposed to "We have a team that has built it and iterated it and done very short sprints along the way so that we've made sure to test throughout the process." If people don't have customer input, they're in trouble because mobile apps are expensive to build and to maintain. And people are starting to get more se- lective about the apps that they want to put on their phones. You really want to make a meaning- ful, valuable resource that enables your customer to be able to get the job done. Are there other points you think are important to mention that I haven't touched on yet --- anything that someone who is about to embark on this process should know before they start asking questions? I think people need to keep it simple and make sure that they really under- stand who their customers are and what their expectations are because we're all short of resources and we want to make every dollar count. Is this a situation where you need to bring in a customer experience team or consultant, or is it something mindful project managers and devel- opers could do themselves? It depends on the agency. Some agen- cies are creating their own digital ser- vices teams, and this is the way they operate --- agile, user-centered design, short sprints, all that. When you have a team like that, you're OK. For me the bigger issue is: Do you need an organization that focuses on the customer in a holistic way? That's the ideal situation. But it comes down to this: I think if you have the right resources internally and you have adopted those kinds of practices within the agency, then you should be fine. You may need techni- cal skills or mobile app developers. It could be that you can design yourself, but you need a contractor to help you develop it. We've done some things at GSA to help agencies test mobile apps. When an agency would want to test some- thing on many different mobile plat- forms, we solicited people from across government and they've loaded an app on their phone and tested it for that agency. It keeps an agency from having to go out and invest in a lot of different types of technology when you can just pull people from across the government to actually do usability testing, which is a really effective way to test. There's also Open Opportunities, which is a platform that allows you to do micro tasking, so agencies can actu- ally put a task on the Open Opportuni- ties platform and request that people help them do some of these kinds of things. And we're in the planning stages of a customer experience summit. So we will have lots more to come. • I think people need to keep it simple and make sure that they really understand who their customers are and what their expectations are because we're all short of resources and we want to make every dollar count. ZAID HAMID CX 32 GCN AUGUST 2015 • GCN.COM