When the Biden administration announced on January 14 that American households would be able to order up to four free at-home rapid tests through a new website, COVIDtests.gov, it should have come as a relief. But many Americans have distinct memories of government websites falling short. HealthCare.gov is an easy target, but let’s not forget the recent issues during the pandemic with state health benefits and unemployment insurance that required people to navigate complicated websites unprepared to handle heavy user traffic.
And yet, as Eric Egan writes in FedTech, COVIDtests.gov is pretty good.
Why? For one thing, the federal government has learned a lot since the HealthCare.gov episode in 2013. Second, by looping in the right stakeholders in the planning stage, the product team was able to work collaboratively to come up with the best approach. Finally, the administration issued an executive order last December on “transforming federal customer experience and service delivery.” It appears that the Digital Service took that to heart.