The Department of Veterans Affairs saw a significant increase in VA.gov satisfaction rates after a one-year redesign and launch in November 2018.

The agency teamed up with the US Digital Service about a year ago to streamline and update VA.gov. Rather than a total site rework, the agency focused only on updating around 200 pages well resulting in substantial improvement.

“The satisfaction went from a 55 to a 67 essentially overnight by providing customization, plain language, one version of any of the content or one version of the tool people were trying to get to, and overall people were much, much happier,” Chris Johnston, product manager of digital service at VA, told Federal Times.

The improvements should matter to taxpayers because more veterans now use the website resulting in less reliance on customer services queries. For example, the use of online forms for education benefits jumped 9 percent.

“Aggregating that information and making it easier for people to find without changing the healthcare application — years ago we redesigned the healthcare application but we didn’t do that on this launch, we just put it front and center on the homepage — that increased the traffic to the healthcare application by 52 percent,” Marcy Jacobs, director of digital services at VA, told Federal Times.

In a Federal Times article, Jacobs outlined the problem government personnel usually run into when designing new solutions addressing old problems. “They write down requirements for two years, they try to write down every possible permutation, and then they try to do everything.”

“The government has a way of buying and building stuff. If you’re going to build a battleship, you’re going to make blueprints for it, you’re going to hire somebody to do that, and then you’re going to hire somebody to build the battleship … and eight years later you’re going to have a battleship,” said Johnston. “Software is not the same. Software is almost a living thing that needs constant attention.”

I noticed the VA.gov website redesign recently and thought the new approach was significantly smoother in appearance and easier to navigate. What do you think of the site?

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12 COMMENTS

  1. I noticed the VA.gov website redesign recently and thought the new approach was significantly smoother in appearance and easier to navigate.

    But were you much, much happier,

    And I bet you Agree Paula
    Healthcare Public Relations and Marketing professional with track record of excellent service. Proven integrity. Award-winning Impact. Adept at successful and strategic campaigns, consultancy, government relations, crisis communications, and media relations. Three-time @PRSA Silver Anvil Awardee. US Navy Veteran and SDVOSB Owner of Paula Pedene and Associates.

    • Please post this to all veterans because VA.gov constantly tell me they don’t have a progress bar for veterans to see but it’s on YouTube and why would someone create something like this for no reason?You

      Appeals status on Vets.gov< Check this video out on YouTube

  2. I’m unable to stand the cold weather in Michigan so my wife and I travel south during that time. Having a number of medical problems I seek the help of the VA at times. There has only been one VA hospital that help me with anything and was first rate. The VA Hospital in Orlando was out of this world. They were the most helpful ever. All the digitizing and computerizing of the VA is not not going to compensate for shitty personnel that has an attitude when it comes to veterans and their needs. Just as the House of representatives need to be gotten rid of for corruption and negligence so do the majority of the VA personal.
    “The agency teamed up with the US Digital Service about a year ago to streamline and update VA.gov. Rather than a total site rework, the agency focused only on updating around 200 pages well resulting in substantial improvement.”
    This has taken years to accomplish and the lives of thousands of Vets. That effort alone shows the incompetence of the VA and their reluctance to fix things in a timely manner.

    • Please post this to all veterans because VA.gov constantly tell me they don’t have a progress bar for veterans to see but it’s on YouTube and why would someone create something like this for no reason?You

      Appeals status on Vets.gov< Check this video out on YouTube

    • To: sunvale,
      If your talking about the VHA at Lake Nona, Orlando, FL. I have to disagree with your assessment.
      I went the a few years ago and had a “heart sonogram” done.
      First, the technician said the “…machine was out of calibration!”
      Second, the technician said she “…couldn’t see anything!”
      Third; I drove over 67 miles one way on a toll road to get there! The tolls cost me over $16.00 for both ways!
      Forth; It took me over 3 months to receive a (DVD) copy of my sonogram.
      Fifth; I took the recording to a heart specialist. He laughed and said, “Wow, I can’t see a thing!”

      There’s more only I won’t bore you with the details! As far as I’m concerned, The VA needs shut down!

  3. I must be going in a back door. Every time I sign on and want to go to health care it drops me out and makes me sign on again which makes me suspicious. Always worry about an indirect sign in because of the potential for a hacker to get my sign in info.

    Why can’t they put together a one line sign in for prime users or just change everyone to the same level so there is only one route on. To me that would be the first and simplest step. Like in getting your basic acts together and then worry about one linked page at a time from within — Not a roundabout.

  4. Please post this to all veterans because VA.gov constantly tell me they don’t have a progress bar for veterans to see but it’s on YouTube and why would someone create something like this for no reason?You

    Appeals status on Vets.gov< Check this video out on YouTube Please post this to all veterans because VA.gov constantly tell me they don't have a progress bar for veterans to see but it's on YouTube and why would someone create something like this for no reason?You

    Appeals status on Vets.gov< Check this video out on YouTube

  5. after reading on here last week, of the cdc wanting access to veterans health records, i wonder if they just want to tidy up the site making it easier for outside agency’s to view our information. nothing no longer surprises me. apresently they do what they want.

  6. I have been going to the VA since the early 90’s in Phoenix, had some life threatening experiences however upon giving them a second shot (nothing critical) I have found them getting better and better. The Psych Clinic has staffed up and I find the follow up much better. My primary NP also seems to be in a better mood and more relaxed now that they are not in the main campus.

  7. This is out from Rep. Martha Roby (R-Al)! She slammed the VHA in her district/state.
    Look it up and read the whole thing. If your unaware, Ms Roby sits on the Veterans Committee! She’s doesn’t take prisoners, either!

    *”http://altoday.com/archives/28757-martha-roby-invites-va-secretary-to-alabama-to-see-veterans-experience-firsthand”*

  8. Still the VA Chronic Pain Primer took everything off that page and still over a year later has:

    Chronic Pain Primer
    “New” Information will be Forthcoming!

    This is not adequate when veterans are various local VAs are trying to “fight for their rights” for acupuncture, aqua-therapy, an many other modalities that the VA will pay for but some VAs claim those “modalities” are not supported by VHA.

Comments are closed.