Enhancing the User Experience at GrantSolutions

In FY20, administrative requirements for grants took up 45 percent of grant recipients’ time. Reducing administrative burden for grant recipients continues to be a top priority for GrantSolutions. A big part of that involves considering how recipients use the GrantSolutions system. Too often, systems and applications are designed with a focus on business goals, fancy features, and technological capabilities. All of these approaches to design forget about the most important part of the process – the end user.

User-Centered design places the person using the application at the center of the design process, rather than the system itself. It involves thinking from the user’s perspective and striving to research, design, and build solutions that don’t make the user think about what they need to do next.

With this in mind and with the support of the Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources (ASFR), GrantSolutions recently released the first major phase of the User Experience, the new Recipient Grants List and Grant Details.

The GrantSolutions User Experience initiative began from user requests to enhance usability and improve workflows within the GrantSolutions system. GrantSolutions employed a User-Centered process which allowed users to be engaged throughout the design and development process by participating in User Engagement Sessions. These sessions previewed small portions of a specific feature or function, enabling users to provide feedback and suggestions at a time when their suggestions could be more easily incorporated into the design.

The end goal was to create a user-centric, intuitive system that solves current operational challenges. The classic experience of the GrantSolutions system caused challenges for users by requiring them to dive into each grant to see critical information, rather than getting a quick view. In the new experience, users are presented with high-level critical information in one view, enabling a faster, more efficient workflow, resulting in an 85% time savings.

Putting the user first definitely paid off as the feedback GrantSolutions received from recipient users was overwhelmingly positive. Overall, recipients rated the new experience 4/5 stars. They listed having key information front and center as the top benefit they have experienced, showing that a User-Centric approach enabled GrantSolutions to successfully tackle one of the main operational challenges for these users.

In the words of a recipient user, “I love the simplicity and clarity of the new format. It is easy to see at-a-glance what needs my attention. Thanks for making the changes! I didn’t even realize how cumbersome the previous format was until you launched this new one.”

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