Usability in Government Systems, 1st Edition

User Experience Design for Citizens and Public Servants

Usability in Government Systems, 1st Edition,Elizabeth Buie,Dianne Murray,ISBN9780123910639

Buie   &   Murray   

Morgan Kaufmann




235 X 191

Doing public-sector systems right: Guidance from more than 30 experts to help you increase cost effectiveness, operational efficiency, and public engagement.

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Key Features

  • Covers both public-facing systems and internal systems run by governments
  • Details usability and user experience approaches specific to government websites, intranets, complex systems, and applications
  • Provides practical material that allows you to take the information and immediately use it to make a difference in your projects


As a usability specialist or interaction designer working with the government, or as a government or contractor professional involved in specifying, procuring, or managing system development, you need this book. Editors Elizabeth Buie and Dianne Murray have brought together over 30 experts to outline practical advice to both usability specialists and government technology professionals and managers.

Working with internal and external government systems is a unique and difficult task because of of the sheer magnitude of the audience for external systems (the entire population of a country, and sometimes more), and because of the need to achieve government transparency while protecting citizens’ privacy.. Open government, plain language, accessibility, biometrics, service design, internal vs. external systems, and cross-cultural issues, as well as working with the government, are all covered in this book.


Usability/UX specialists and interaction designers working with the government; government and contractor professionals involved in specifying, procuring, or managing system developments.

Elizabeth Buie

Elizabeth Buie has 35 years of experience in information systems, of which over 30 have involved user interfaces, usability, and the user experience. Approximately 90% of her work has involved government systems of one sort or another, both internal and public facing. She has performed research, analysis, specification, design, development, and evaluation of human-computer interaction (HCI) for Web sites, Web applications, desktop and mainframe applications, and complex systems such as spacecraft control centres and air-traffic control applications. Her experience has also included several years in system engineering, which includes the specification and analysis of system and software requirements and the integration of the HCI process into the system life cycle. In the mid-1990s, Elizabeth initiated the effort to promote awareness of HCI in government systems. She co-chaired a workshop at CHI’95 and a SIG at CHI’96 and was one of the organizers of three symposia at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) on HCI in government. Elizabeth has master's degrees in mathematics and in human development, extensive technical and nontechnical writing experience, and proficiency in the Italian language. She serves on the editorial board of the UPA's online Journal of Usability Studies and served for several years on the editorial board of ACM’s magazine. She is co-chair (with Jhilmil Jain) of the User Experience Community for the CHI 2011 conference and is an Assistant Chair of the Usability, Accessibility, and User Experience subcommittee of the CHI2011 Program Committee.

Affiliations and Expertise

Principal Consultant, Luminanze Consulting, LLC, Silver Spring MD, USA

Dianne Murray

Dianne Murray has a joint degree in Computer Science and Psychology and has been involved in the Human Computer Interaction field since 1979, when she met MICKIE, the Medical Interviewing Computer (later to be exhibited at the Science Museum, London) in a doctor's surgery. Her first career was as a research scientist in a renowned UK government research laboratory. Her second career was as a university lecturer in the London area and her third as a Senior Research Fellow in a multidisciplinary research group in a 5*-rated University department. She has extensive experience of teaching Human Computer Interaction at both undergraduate and postgraduate level in a number of prestigious institutions and, since 1997, has been responsible for the HCI component of a University of London External Degree Programme, re-writing and updating the Study Guide some three times over the years. Her fourth career as a Usability and HCI consultant and her fifth as an academic journal editor have taken place in parallel. She has been continually involved in writing, researching and editing - academic papers, textbooks, technical reports and general audience articles on her specialist research subjects. She has extensive experience of acting as an editor for collected books of readings and conference publications and of producing material associated with specialist conferences. Her earliest experience was in producing computer-based training material and writing technical manuals for the MICROTEXT system (Acorn Publications, 1985). More recently she has produced reports and deliverables on technical matters for European Community-funded research projects, and gained much experience in managing, writing and submitting proposals for research funding, and acting as an expert Evaluator and Technical Rapporteur for the European Framework programmes of research. A founder member of interaction (originally the British HCI Group), she was the first Editor of its Newsletter (later the magazine, Interfaces) and has been General Editor of the international and interdisciplinary journal, Interacting with Computers, published by Elsevier Science, for 11 years, being Deputy Editor and co-founder for 10 years prior to that. Since the birth of her twin sons she has worked both as a part-time HCI and Usability consultant and as sub-contractor to her partner, Neil Sandford, at Putting People Before Computers. Now that her youngest children are at secondary school she intends to pursue her original research into adaptive interfaces and intelligent systems and to restart her interrupted doctorate in Human Computer Interaction.

Affiliations and Expertise

HCI / Usability Consultant and General Editor, Interacting with Computers, Elsevier , Teddington, UK

Usability in Government Systems, 1st Edition


Chapter 1: A Brief History of User Experience in Government Systems

PART I: Public-facing Systems


Chapter 2: Usability of Public Web Sites

Chapter 3: Usability and Government 2.0

Chapter 4: UX of Transactions

Chapter 5: Privacy and the Citizen

PART II: Internal Systems


Chapter 6: Usability in Defense Systems

Chapter 7: Emergency Response in Simulated Terrorist Attacks

Chapter 8: National Critical Infrastructures

Chapter 9: Legislative Drafting Systems

PART III: UX Issues Common to Both Public and Internal Systems


Chapter 10: Content Strategy

Chapter 11: Plain Language in Government

Chapter 12: Ensuring Accessibility for People with Disabilities

Chapter 13: Mobile Access

Chapter 14: User Issues in Security

Chapter 15: Usability of Biometric Systems

PART IV: Procurement and Development


Chapter 16: Getting UX into the Contract

Chapter 17: ISO Standards for User-Centered Design and the Specification of Usability

Chapter 18: User-centered Requirements Definition

Chapter 19: Models as Representations for Supporting the

Development of e-Procedures

Chapter 20: Evaluation in Government Environments

Chapter 21: Adapting e-Gov Usability Evaluation to Cultural Contexts

PART V: Wider Considerations


Chapter 22: Design for Policymaking

Chapter 23: Service Design and Channel Shifting

Chapter 24: UX and e-Democracy in Asia

Closing Thoughts

Resources, Glossary & Acronyms

Quotes and reviews

"Elizabeth Buie and Dianne Murray have pulled together a book that is long overdue…Usability specialists in government environments should get this book."--Technical Communication, May 2013
"Given the effort being made by governments worldwide to shift users onto the theoretically cheaper digital channels, this book makes a welcome appearance…It has a wealth of useful references and links, so could benefit a group of developers but overall, as Sanford and Doulton recognise, real usability comes end-to-end and it’s the policy instigators that introduce poor user experiences.", December 2012
"These engaging stories from UX pros in governments worldwide will inform and inspire anyone who's switched on by improving the customer experience of digital government. Here’s the history and a candid look at what we face in making online government services useful, usable, and accessible."--Nicole Burton, User Experience Evangelist, U.S. General Services Administration, Manager, First Fridays Product Testing Program
"Those of us who work on the design, development, or management of government websites or systems have had a gap on our bookshelves that has needed filling for government focused UX. This book fills that gap with global expertise with breadth and depth from proven experts from a good mix of academic and practitioner insights. This book, once read, will be kept with easy reach for reference sharing the richness of knowledge with others to improve the systems and services government provides for use."--Thomas Vander Wal, InfoCloud Solutions
"Written and edited by respected names in usability from industry and academia around the world, this comprehensive and focused book belongs on the shelf of everyone involved in the development of government software systems of any kind from public facing web sites to military and emergency response systems."--Deborah J. Mayhew, Deborah J. Mayhew & Associates
"This is a very well researched and documented work that is imbued with wonderful storytelling. It goes to the heart of the changes and demands affecting governments across the globe due to implementing e-government and Gov 2.0. Elizabeth and Dianne did a wonderful job in chronicling this modern day revolution."--Alan W. Silberberg, founding CEO of Silberberg Innovations, and Gov20LA
"Usability in Government Systems makes an important contribution to a field that deserves more attention.  We must ensure that government is easily accessible and understandable for all Americans."--Congressman Chris Van Hollen (MD-08)
"Usability and systems professionals in public service will benefit from the wisdom and insights presented in this book. Following this advice will undoubtedly increase the value contributed by user experience design in the government systems and services value chain."--Computing Reviews, November 2012


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