USCIS redesigns Web site to improve usability, access

Obama administration sees redesigned site as a model for others

Now that the new U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) revamped Web site is live, users are testing its organization and interactive features.

Darrell West, vice president and director of governance studies at the Brookings Institution, said the redesigned site appears to be more user-friendly than the old Web portal and more logically organized.

“One of the best features is the ability to personalize the site to your particular situation,” West said.

The site allows applicants for citizenship to track the progress of their cases. Jeffrey Zients, the Obama administration’s chief performance officer, said the new site was a significant step for the public and USCIS's customers.

"It’s also a significant step for our federal government in terms of providing services that are smarter, faster and lower cost,” Zients said at a press conference where officials unveiled the redesigned site last week.

He said the government is using the USCIS redesign as a model for efforts that are under way to refresh other federal Web sites.

USCIS processes requests about immigration-related applications and petitions, and the agency’s existing Web site was one of the most-used government sites, garnering about 230,000 users per day. However, USCIS said users of the old site found it difficult to use.

Users can now choose to receive notifications by e-mail or text message when the status of an application changes, and the site also provides access to national trend data and raw data that can be used in additional applications. And for the first time, the redesigned has a version in Spanish.

Here are some of the new features on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services's redesigned site:


About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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Reader comments

Tue, Sep 29, 2009 D.C.

I like the intent-driven interaction paradigm ("WHERE TO START") in the top left frame. However, page links for many optoins are broken (e.g., US Citizen wanting a passport, adopt a child, etc.). Surprised it was rolled out to production with such glaring mistakes; this is easily testing and should have been.

Thu, Sep 24, 2009 Bret Clement

The new site looks good. As other Federal sites get revamped, its a good idea to do user testing. This article from Website Magazine discusses some of the new online tools:

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