Digital Services Articles

Introducing the ATO Field Guide

April 28, 2021

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Ad Hoc is releasing an ATO Field Guide to inform the public, our customers, and our partners about how federal web applications are authorized to operate on behalf of the American people.

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How to make vaccination an efficient and equitable process

March 02, 2021

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Let’s talk about how governments can change course to create a vaccination process that improves equity and takes the burden of finding appointments off of individuals.

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Building a federal front door for vaccinations

February 19, 2021

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Through research, we’ve landed on a handful of principles that could shape a federal vaccination website and core features the website should provide on launch.

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How to start improving your COVID-19 vaccination digital service

February 12, 2021

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We’ve gathered a short list of ways state and local governments can improve their services now and prepare for the upcoming phases of the vaccination rollout.

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Prototyping a COVID-19 vaccination verification app

January 28, 2021

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Ad Hoc has created a prototype that would allow Medicare beneficiaries to check their vaccination status in an easy-to-use web app.

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Why Ad Hoc is offering free COVID-19 vaccination consulting

January 26, 2021

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We're offering an hour of free consultation to any U.S. government operating a COVID-19 vaccination website or mobile app. There’s no catch, just contact us, and we’ll help you.

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Ad Hoc’s 2020 reading list

December 22, 2020

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To wrap up 2020, we wanted to share the highlights from our book clubs and other staff favorites to inspire your winter reading list.

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Imagining an app to simplify student loan forgiveness

December 18, 2020

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What’s needed is a simple, purpose-built website to help borrowers apply for loan forgiveness, and help them stay enrolled in payment programs.

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The impact of internal incentives on product outcomes

December 15, 2020

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Agencies that take the time to set outcome-based North Stars, align their internal incentives to reward outcomes, and empower their product owners are better prepared to build excellent products for the public.

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How bad incentives can lead projects astray, and how to set things straight

December 08, 2020

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While there is a great deal written about how perverse incentives can lead to unintended outcomes, we wanted to focus on how using the right incentives can drive the right behaviors — both at the individual and organizational levels.

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The new Ad Hoc Government Digital Services Playbook

August 18, 2020

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The 2020 version is now a standalone playbook that any federal agency can use to replace enterprise software with proven techniques from the world of commercial software.

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How agencies can scale up digital services in the wake of COVID-19

July 21, 2020

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Every agency, from federal to local, needs to envision a way they can serve their constituents with as little in-person contact as possible.

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The problem might not be COBOL

July 10, 2020

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The government's problem isn’t using old code or older programming languages. The problem is often that they’re using code that wasn’t designed to meet the needs of people who use it.

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Modernizing how Medicare beneficiaries find and enroll in coverage

April 09, 2020

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Our approach to the Medicare Plan Finder was to build a tool and process that would allow us to continuously improve what we provided to beneficiaries and those who support them.

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Four myths about applying human-centered design to government digital services

February 20, 2020

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While human-centered design (HCD) is gaining traction, its underlying concepts are sometimes misunderstood. This can mislead teams into thinking they’re working in a human-centered way when in fact, their work is largely driven by requirements.

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The case for listening to enterprise users

November 12, 2019

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For companies that rely on consumer sales, there’s a clear business case for creating intuitive, pleasurable user experiences. But what about situations where the consumer or end user is not the customer? Where the organization is the customer, there may seem to be less incentive to design around the needs...

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Design systems in government: How to ease handoffs

October 11, 2019

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The end of a contract and subsequent transition represents a risk: not only will the system potentially sit idle or be forgotten, but the culture change you’ve been trying to effect may stop as well.

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Design systems in government: When to start

October 03, 2019

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These two systems provide a helpful contrast for what it looks like when you begin a project with a design system and when you add it later. Let’s dig in.

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Design systems in government: Improving documentation for better collaboration

September 26, 2019

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In this post, we’re going to provide some guidance on building or maintaining the documentation for design systems, but many of these concepts could easily apply to other types of projects.

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Design systems in government: Communication is critical

September 18, 2019

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Design system communication is a two-way street. Establishing a strong communication strategy to get information from teams using the design system and provide the core team with information is critical for its success.

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Design systems in government: Less can be more

September 12, 2019

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Let’s examine two directions you can take when creating a government design system: incorporate everything into the design system, or make the design system as small and flexible as possible.

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The 21st Century IDEA Act Playbook Part 5: Scaling design systems

September 10, 2019

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The details of how the Office of Management and Budget will interpret this mandate into regulation are still to be determined, and it’s important that those regulations provide a smart, flexible way for agencies to adopt the USWDS.

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The 21st Century IDEA Act Playbook Part 4: Prioritize modernization with user research

September 04, 2019

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The 21st Century IDEA Act mandates that every agency prioritize public services that need modernization. The best way for agencies to prioritize their services is to thoroughly research how users interact with those services.

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The 21st Century IDEA Act Playbook Part 3: Customized, mobile-friendly experiences

August 26, 2019

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Today, we’ll finish up the first section of the IDEA Act with the final two requirements for public websites and digital services.

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The 21st Century IDEA Act Playbook Part 2: Search, security, and serving users

August 21, 2019

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In this section, I’ll continue looking at the IDEA Act’s new requirements for public websites and digital services, including a deep dive into what it means to design services around the needs of your users.

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The 21st Century IDEA Act Playbook Part 1: Accessibility, appearance, and overlap

August 15, 2019

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Reading the IDEA Act, I saw much of how Ad Hoc works with our customers on government digital services. I thought it would be helpful to share our experience in implementing these kinds of digital services.

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Defining digital services and what they mean for product teams

August 14, 2019

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We don’t have a shared definition for what government digital service means. This post offers one perspective by outlining how we think about digital services and how these ideas relate to our product practice.

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A case for incremental change and accessibility

June 18, 2019

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As we consider accessibility, we also need to keep in mind the impact of disruptions, particularly for audiences who rely on predictability and for whom recreating their accommodations can be a painful process.

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Becoming stewards of the social infrastructure

May 03, 2019

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As an organization committed to improving social infrastructure, we must also put our research, design, product, and engineering skills to work on all aspects of public service delivery.

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Ad Hoc receives Contractor of the Year award

November 13, 2018

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The awards recognize leadership, innovation, and commitment to excellence among contractors, executives, and program partners in the Greater Washington, DC, area.

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A phased approach to modular contracting

May 30, 2018

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Using multiple, small contracts does not necessarily guarantee this result, but you can build better products and get better at incorporating new information as you go.

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The Ad Hoc Government Digital Services Playbook

May 24, 2018

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The Ad Hoc Government Digital Services Playbook compiles what we have learned from four years of delivering digital services for government clients.

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Getting great people on government contracts

March 20, 2018

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Most contracts I’ve seen have a period of performance that starts the day after the award. That doesn’t give the winning vendor much time to assemble an excellent team.

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Staying agile in a shutdown

January 22, 2018

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Today marks the first workday since the federal government shutdown. As a federal contractor helping run several large systems, we seek to be of greatest use to our customers and for the people we all seek to serve.

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Ideas for creating mobile applications for Veterans

October 25, 2017

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Recently, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs released a Request for Information looking for ideas in how to create mobile applications for Veterans. Here's a summary of our response.

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