When developing applications for delivering federal services, there can be tensions between designing for a user-focused or security-focused experience. Given the myriad threats that they face, government agencies have focused more on creating secure applications. However, as federal agencies deliver on the digital government mission it is essential that agencies find an intrinsic balance and develop applications that are both secure and user-friendly.
The Biden Administration addressed this requirement in two recent Executive Orders that outlined the future of government agency infrastructure. The first order called for improving agencies’ cybersecurity efforts to better protect government agencies, essential services, and the nation’s security from malicious threat actors. The second order focused on improving public trust in government agencies by delivering easy to use and secure federal services.
Tim Meyers, Maximus’s Vice President of Federal Cybersecurity, explained the reasoning behind the focus on cybersecurity, beyond the obvious threat level. With budget restrictions and limited resources, user-experience (UX) isn’t prioritized. But this doesn’t have to be the case. For Meyers, UX and secure application development can easily co-exist, but it requires the Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to include UX as a part of their federal requirements.
“As CISA releases cybersecurity guidance to other federal agencies, it’s critical that they understand the threats and the issues that agencies face,” explained Meyers. “Understanding the different user experience requirements of their customer agencies will enable CISA to create better guidance for all agencies to implement, and thereby protect the nation.”
Meyers believes that there needs to be an “intrinsic balance” established between these two disciplines in order to create a robust customer experience. Designing effective application services requires collaboration between the cybersecurity and UX teams. By working together from the inception of these applications, agencies can design simple, seamless, and secure services that serve all communities and establish public trust in the government as a result.
“Customer experience is the perception and reality that your customers have when interacting with your organization,” explained Meyers. “This experience is driven by the ease, efficiency, and usefulness of the interaction along with the important trust factor. Trust is built by securely delivering day in and day out what you promise while protecting the customer’s privacy.”
By integrating both cybersecurity and user experience best practices into the development of citizen-facing applications from the beginning, federal agencies will meet the needs of today’s citizens and establish credibility and trust.
Learn more about accelerating customer experience with secure application services here.