How we at the U.S. Digital Service helped the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services implement a mega-volume document capture service using QR codes.

Note: the following content was originally written to be published in 2017 while I worked at the U.S. Digital Service at USCIS. No edits have been made to the original piece and the dates represent what was current as of August 2017.

The naturalization ceremony is one of the most exciting days of an immigrant journey. It represents the culmination of the years-long wait to become a U.S. citizen. After this day–for all intents and purposes–the beneficiary is a new citizen of the United States of America. That is, almost all intents and purposes, besides obtaining a U.S. Passport…

A new citizen cannot be approved for a U.S. passport, until their citizenship case is closed–a process that in the worst cases can take months.

Currently…


I want an frictionless way to schedule a hair appointment online. My barbershop’s current website isn’t cutting it.

I only occasionally interact with Roosters’ website; Usually just to check a service price, view hours, and to see when my favorite stylist is working. I rarely book an appointment online because it requires me to create a new account for their enterprise salon management platform. It takes far too long given the simple actions I want to take. Forget about calling them; they’re busy when open and I only seem to notice when I need a haircut when they’re closed. There must be a better way…

A User’s Journey

  • User realizes their hair looks atrocious. They are in public, possibly caught a…

From Left: IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, Me, Mortgage Bankers Association CEO & President David Stevens

The IRS, along with their partner, The Mortgage Bankers Association began an awesome crowd-sourcing challenge in April. It was a fantastic opportunity for the public to propose innovative solutions for a reimagined “taxpayer experience of the future.” I was ecstatic to learn that my entry was chosen, out of 48 submissions, for the first-place prize in two categories: Overall Design and Taxpayer Usefulness.

Right from the challenge website:

Taxpayers have the right to be informed, which includes access to their personal taxpayer data. Many taxpayers, however, might not know where to find this information or how to use it, as…


It’s tax season. Which means for three months, IRS.gov is the most visited government website. According to analytics.usa.gov, there were over 90 million page visits over the last 30 days. Most users then visit the “Where’s My Refund” page to find out when they’re getting that money back from the government.


In the past few years, 18F and The U.S. Digital Service released the U.S. Digital Services Playbook. I put it to the test, specifically the web design standards, and in the process found out a great deal about the current state of our government’s digital presence.

We the developers, product designers, visual designers, etc. who choose to work in government are often stereotyped. What competent, skilled individual would choose such a bureaucratic deluge of a career? I only need to bring up the horrific launch of “Healthcare.gov” for most people to get the idea. From the charred ashes of a colossal failure, beacons of hope emerged. Mikey Dickerson, of the Healthcare.gov rescue team, became the leader of the new U.S. Digital Service and perhaps even more importantly…

President Obama and the entire U.S. government were forced to invest in creating more effective digital services.

Since then…

Andrew Miller

Design Lead @AWS Government Transformation || Co-founder @coformaco || Former @USDS @SandiaLabs @CIA || drummer/funnyman/dad

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