In this concept piece, the Employment Security Department of Washington is seeking to develop a mobile application for eligible residents to file for their benefits. The focus of our scope: develop a streamlined iOS application for users to file their weekly unemployment claims

Our team was provided with a one-page design prompt to create a mobile application based off the current process, available on desktop. The department is aware of usability issues with the current desktop site and would eventually like to use the new streamlined mobile application to inform the redesign of the desktop site. 


Concept Piece
2-week Sprint




User Research
Design Strategy
Business Analysis
UI Design
Usability Testing


Adobe XD
Hand Sketching
Survey Monkey


Synthesized and Analyzed Research
Heuristic Evaluation
Business Analysis
Interactive Prototype




Evaluation of Desktop Site

To gain a better understand of the filing process,  I reviewed the current system available on desktop.  As the system is only available to current filers of unemployment claims, I observed a volunteer as they worked through the process.


  • Use of common "error" symbol as link to start a new claim

  • Over use of legalese, not easily understood by an average user

  • Error messages preventing the user from proceeding without indication of where the error was made

  • Highly repetitive process


Current Desktop UI - Dashboard

Current Desktop UI - Filing Process


User Research

To better understand the experience of filing for unemployment, we sent out a screen survey using Survey Monkey. Our survey produced 12 responses. We followed up with 8 in-person interviews.  

I feel as though I am being tricked into making a mistake.
The current site is a guessing game.  A lot of the language is confusing and if you make a mistake, it’s hard to tell why.
I already feel vulnerable because I just lost my job and the process of filing makes me feel even more vulnerable.
The system is really clunky, unclear, and lacks support.

Comparative Analysis

Just because a site is government funded does not mean it cannot be consumer grade. In seeking a good example of this, I examined TurboTax, specifically focusing on how it guides users through a convoluted government process in a user friendly, digestable way.

Key benefits

  • Language that is conversational, with a clear tone and voice

  • Provides glossary of terms

  • Form heavy product that breaks down the process into manageable steps

  • Well adapted mobile application



Business Goals

Success Metrics

  • Decrease incoming calls by 20% by Q2 2017

  • Through use of a user survey, increase overall satisfaction of the program by 15% by end of Q2 2017

  • Decrease the number of open fraud investigation cases by 10% by end of Q4 2017



  • Increase trust between users and the department by providing a system that empowers the user to take control of their claim process

  • Develop a streamlined mobile site that will help inform a redesign of the desktop site

  • Increase accountability with better tracking of filers' job logs


Affinity Mapping

User Pain Point

  • Confusion over when a claim is available to be filed

  • Frustrations over having to wait until the week is complete to prepare their claim

  • Confusion over "legal language"

  • Fear and anxiety of inadvertently making a mistake

Sometimes I am afraid of making a mistake because I don’t fully understand what a question I have to answer means.
— unemployment filer

Proto Persona

Angela, 36

Status: Married
Location: Seattle
Tech Empathy: High


Find a similar paying job that utilizes her skills and expertise

Have flexibility and autonomy in her job search

Find assurance that she has filed her claim correctly

Former Job: Account Management
Unemployed for 4 months


Confusion about the way questions are worded

Frustrated she cannot record her job searches as she conducts them

Discouraged by condescending and accusatory language

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UX Vision

Create a mobile platform for eligible users to file their weekly claims. The tone and diction of the app will be simple, clear, and respectful, giving the user confidence that it’s been done correctly and completely. Additionally, users will be able to file their job searches throughout the week at their convenience, and keep track of their weekly claims from their mobile devices.

Restructuring the Process

WA Task List@2x.png

Early access to job search log

To add flexibility and convince to the filing process, a job log capability was added.  This allows users to log their job searches as they go, on their own time.  This log will then be pre-populated into their weekly claim to confirm before submitting their filing.



Less common sources of income

To qualify for weekly benefits, users must complete a series of questions each week.  While many of these questions could change on a weekly basis, we determined that 6 of these questions were unlikely to change and could be placed on one page, with the previous week's answers pre-populated for user to review and make changes if needed.








Next Steps

Building out hamburger menu with additional support functionality:

  • Changing or setting up direct deposit

  • How to get help

  • Frequently asked questions

Higher fidelity mockups to consumer grade level

Additional usability testing with more diverse pool of users