Federal web pilot projects (both internal and external) consistently are undermined by usability and design shortcomings. The reason for this is because few program managers have access to standing, cost-effective user experience and design resources within their organizations. They therefore need to contract out vendors who specialize in the practice. However, owing to their small budgets and the bureaucracy of federal contracting regulations (which further inflate acquisition costs), there are few web pilot projects that can justify the procurement of such specialized services. The net effect is that pilot projects launch with poor usability and design issues, which impair their performance and undermines the value of the entire experimentation process. In a Web 2.0 world where usability and design are so important, DoD program managers should have access to standing user experience and design resources within their organizations or have access to them at intragovernmental level. These resources should be equivalent in quality to industry leading commercial organizations and must be available in a cost effective hourly manner. This would enable web pilot projects to have access to the 15-60 hours of user experience and design resources they typically need to realize their potential on the web.
Idea No. 29