Internal Revenue Service

IRS Research & Design

About the Project

We currently provide iterative design and user testing services to the IRS “Account” product. The IRS “Account” product is the site for taxpayers to manage their tax balances owed to the IRS. It includes the ability for taxpayers to view their balances owed, request tax records, review recent payments, and continue to sites where they can pay their balances. Our role is to provide iterative design and research services to the agile teams working on the product.

Services Provided

  • Project Leadership & Management
  • Research
  • Usability Testing
  • User Interface Design

OUR APPROACH Our approach is to support multiple agile teams by conducting design and user research activities on the backlog of user stories. Working in 8-week program increments broken into 4 2-week iterations, we use a combination of Sketch and InVision to create design prototypes of the Account product to be user tested in our lab. We iterate the designs based on taxpayer feedback, then provide the design assets to the development teams for implementation. PROJECT RESULTS INCLUDED The human centered design process yielded one very tangible result in particular. An issue was uncovered with one of the buttons intended to take users to the ability to pay their balances over time. In addition to seeing the issue in focus groups and usability test results, we worked with the broader project team including the product management and site analytics teams to determine the exact issue: a button label didn’t resonate with taxpayers. Using plain language best practices, the button label was changed to better resonate with taxpayers and re-tested. Upon deployment, the continuation rate of the payment button instantly increased by over 100%. A simple fix, but one that may have gone un-detected had it not been for an integrated human centered design approach.