Why feedback matters

Teams who build digital products for VA commit to deliver to Veterans a user experience as good as, or better than what they get on the consumer websites and apps they use every day. The Platform Governance team helps them meet that commitment by providing relevant, appropriate, end-to-end feedback throughout the Collaboration Cycle process. This feedback helps ensure that the team’s product and process:

Over the course of three Collaboration Cycle meetings, known as Touchpoints, Governance team members review the VFS (Veteran Facing Services) team’s design plans and artifacts to make sure they align with those principles and guidelines.

After the Design Intent and Midpoint Review, practice area specialists on the Governance Team will gather and formulate their observations from the review, and provide teams a list of written feedback, with each item ranked either, Must, Should, or Consider.

The three feedback categories are detailed below:

Must feedback

The practice area specialist has identified an issue that:

  • Explicitly violates one or more of VA’s design principles

  • Maps to specific guidance laid out in the VA.gov Design System

  • Must be brought into alignment with the design principles before launching on VA.gov

  • If not fixed before Staging Review, would likely be flagged as a major issue and block the release of the product.

Any feedback labeled must is critical, and integral to ensuring that the experience standards for VA.gov are met. If must feedback is not addressed, it may result in a launch-blocking issue at Staging Review.

Should feedback

The practice area specialist has identified an issue that:

  • May violate one or more of VA’s design principles, but does not yet map to specific guidance in the Design System

  • Does not adhere to current industry best practices

  • If not fixed before Staging Review, could be flagged as a major issue and block the release of the product

It’s important that VFS teams respond to feedback labeled should, either by sharing a plan for addressing it, or by providing a written explanation of the project constraints that prevent them from implementing the feedback in the Collaboration Cycle ticket.

Consider feedback

The practice area specialist has identified an issue that:

  • May not explicitly violate VA’s design principles, but its implementation could fall short of current industry best practices

  • The VFS team should investigate the recommendation to see how it might improve the product’s user experience

  • If not fixed before Staging Review, likely won’t be flagged as a major issue or block release of the product, but may adversely affect user experience