ESDWAGOV    |    2016    |    2-WEEK SPRINT

How do we make Unemployment weekly claims filing process simpler?

Filing for unemployment insurance in the state of Washington is an antiquated process of outdated forms that do not take advantage of mobile technology. To make the process easier and relieve a few pain points, our team researched, planned, designed and tested an app that we've called MoJo (Mobile Jobs). MoJo allows the user to file for weekly benefits through clear, easy steps, and moves the job search log process from a handwritten space into a digital one.
  • Brian Sasville
  • Chris Lewis
  • Me
  • User Research
  • Planning
  • Design
  • Testing
  • Documentation
  • Takeaways from User Research
  • Suggested Features & Design Recommendations
  • Sketches & Wireframes
  • Use Cases & User Stories
  • Documentation
  • Illustrator
  • Photoshop
  • Axure
  • Pen & Paper
  • Post Its
  • Organizational & Domain Research
  • Market Analysis
  • Interviews
  • Contextual Inquiry
  • Affinity Mapping
  • Persona Creation
  • User Flows
  • Design Studio / Charette
  • Sketches
  • Wireframing
  • Low-Resolution Prototypes
  • Usability Tests

We began with organizational/domain research about the unemployment process in Washington and a few other states. We used this information to develop screeners that helped us identify 14 potential interview subjects. This allowed us to conduct six interviews about people’s experience filing for unemployment in Washington State, and one contextual inquiry watching a subject fill out the job search log paperwork. This data became a wall-sprawling affinity diagram, which would become the basis for the development of our pr0to-persona, Dave.

What We Discovered

  1. People have two ways to file a claim. If they call, wait times will exceed an hour or more. If they file online, they must do so from a desktop computer because the form is not built to be mobile friendly.
  2. The job search log is a tedious process that users find frustrating and is a major source of anxiety. Failure to fill out the log properly can lead to stiff financial penalties.
Persona Development

Because we had a limited data-set, we were only able to develop a proto-persona. Our proto-persona, Dave is in his late 40s. He lives in Seattle with his wife and young daughter. He cares about putting money in his daughter’s college fund, which is difficult right now because Dave was recently let go from his job and has been filing for unemployment benefits.

To understand Dave’s needs and struggles better, we created scenarios for him in which his life could be improved by the MoJo app. This helped us understand Dave’s mindset, needs, pain points and wants during the sketching phase.



We then sketched out ideas for the app, iterated and sketched more. At one point we had whiteboarded three entire classroom walls. This led to the development of a paper prototype, which we were able to test with three users. The biggest issue the tests revealed was that MoJo had potential labeling problem. Unless you were already familiar with the unemployment filing process, the calls to action weren’t entirely clear. We resolved this issue by clarifying as much of the language as possible, and adding the development of an on-boarding experience to our next steps.

Follow Up
next steps
  • More User TestsWe would conduct more user tests with subjects screened for familiarity with the unemployment benefits process in Washington state. I want to know if the users find the claim process simple and intuitive, if the job search log process is clear and where we can improve interactions.
  • We would add an Apply for Benefits section of the app for users enrolling in the program, which would include an onboarding experience. An on boarding experience would allow us to test the app with people unfamiliar with the unemployment process—just as someone recently unemployed who is filing for the first time would be.
  • Although we were concerned that the limited number of interviews would impair our data results, what we discovered was our interview subjects all had similiar pain points with the process. The interviews actually confirmed what we suspected the issues would be, so we were confident in moving forward to the planning phase.
  • The structured group brainstorming/sketching session ended up being a key moment in our collaborative process. It jumpstarted a whiteboarding session that became the framework for our prototype design.