Healthcare.gov’s broken UX guidelines

click to enlargeGiven the broken Healthcare.gov website, perhaps a silver lining lesson some of us can take from it, as we (in the US) wait and wonder, is what user experience (UX) usability guidelines it broke. From UX research/consultancy Nielsen Norman group is a ‘count the ways’ to ten. (A difference–the pictures of real people have been removed and replaced with cartoons, with wags bemoaning the loss of the anonymous ‘Obamacare girl’ on the home page, not depicted here.) The contention here is that the account setup is unnecessarily complex and may be contributing to the backend technology failure. HealthCare.gov’s Account Setup: 10 Broken Usability Guidelines  Hat tip to former EIC Steve Hards.

But perhaps that is being charitable. Now we find that even the bits that the administration praised as working–completed by the companies now dubbed the saviors of the system–are breaking down. Verizon’s Terremark data center, responsible for helping to determine the individual subsidies for the entire country, went dark on Sunday–and the QSSI hub, that connects to multiple agencies to obtain citizenship and confirm identity– also went down. CNBC.com  And the search for the guilty goes on with Todd Park, the White House CTO and former CTO of HHS who oversaw the buildout of the site prominently mentioned, and Marilyn Tavenner, head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) testifying on the decision-making process before the House Ways and Means Committee (the budgeting/oversight committee) today. FierceHealthIT, Boston Business Journal  But all will be well by 1 December!

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