Podcast: User feedback improves HealthCare.govHow are the yellow bubbles improving HealthCare.gov?
You’re listening to the HHS Center for New Media podcast, where new and innovative media projects are introduced, shared, and discussed.
On July 1st, HealthCare.gov was launched on deadline according to the Affordable Care Act. One key feature of this website is the feedback tool.
“It’s a yellow box that allows people first to declare whether they found the page useful or not.”
Craig Stoltz is the site manager of HealthCare.gov.
“When they say yes or no, a little box opens up that allows them to include some sort of narrative comment…something where they could tell us what was or wasn’t useful about that particular page.”
The yellow bubble exists on nearly all pages of the website. As part of the Obama Administrations Open Government Initiative, it’s generating participation from users.
“Citizens are becoming increasingly expectant of having the opportunity to provide feedback and we think it’s very important to respond to that. And this is very much in the spirit of collaboration. It’s not just us trying to make the site better. It’s us working in partner with citizens to make the site better.”
This yellow bubble tool represents a departure from how government traditionally accepts feedback.
“Right now the default mechanism for taking comments is sticking an email link on the bottom and that’s not very effective. People don’t see it at the right time. We feel like the yellow bubble tool allows people to respond at the moment when they have a comment or observation.”
At that moment, the comment becomes associated with the page it was made on. Its then put into a database and classified into categories. Every week, Craig receives a batch of those comments that he uses for editing. Most immediately, they’ve helped him fix errors in the content.
“Sometimes the comments reflect very simple changes…a broken link, a misspelling. We’ve found it’s very effective if you have hundreds of thousands of proofreaders out there reading your copy for you.”
15,000 comments later the tool has proven to accommodate and engage those users, improving the content and usability of the site.
“If a lot of people say they’re confused about a particular page but the comments are vague, we know to pay attention to that page. There’s something wrong with that page.”
Thus far, the voices of those HealthCare.gov users have helped create a fact sheet on preventive services, a new glossary item on grandfathered health plans, and various blog entries explaining portions of the Affordable Care Act.
You’ve been listening to The HHS Center for New Media podcast, where new and innovative media projects are introduced, shared, and discussed. If you have a project, media tool, or idea that you want to share with other HHS employees, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for listening. I’m Nicholas Garlow.