The tech team at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has launched their latest effort on Wednesday, to advance the quality of services for former military personnel with the re-launch of VA.gov. In an effort to shape the experience of how veterans interact with Veteran Affairs services to be more in line with how those veterans would like it to work, the U.S. Digital Service team (USDS) set about moving all those streamlined resources to a more central location. The refurbished VA.gov is the new single point portal for any and all veteran services.
Executive Director of USDS at VA, Marcy Jacobs stated that VA.gov was aimed to build a plain language, easier experience for veterans to recognize the benefits they’ve earned and to be able to access and transact with the department more effectively. Though, after conversations with over 5,000 users, the team found that veterans didn’t want a website just for benefits. Jacobs said that they don’t want to go to a benefits site for benefits stuff and benefits tools and a health site for health materials, and have to log in completely differently. They want to go to one VA and have a single front door.
The new VA.gov aims to be that single access point for veterans and their families, through easy-to-access information on every service the VA offers. The site also includes a personalized log-in feature, which customizes the experience to the individual veteran. As with all rollouts, Jacobs supposed that there to be some bumps in the re-launch. But the USDS team is accustomed to working in an agile method and is already working on future improvements for the next delivery cycle. One such future enhancement Jacobs is excited for will be the VA and Defense Department systems work together, so seamlessly that service members transitioning to civilian life don’t have to fill out any paperwork to get their VA benefits. Jacobs concluded that he would love to get the point where their team doesn’t have to ask a question that they already have the answer to.