the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Trenton NJ, The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) today released significant updates to its Unemployment Insurance application, the first of many improvements designed to make it easier for New Jerseyans to apply for unemployment benefits.
The updates released today were designed and developed in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL), U.S. Digital Service (USDS), NJDOL’s Division of Information Technology, and the New Jersey Office of Innovation to modernize the online application by allowing workers to apply easily from a mobile phone, and increase accessibility for those using screen readers or other assistive technologies.
To inform the changes, the state and federal government teams worked alongside New Jerseyans each step of the way, observing in real-time where the application questions were often misunderstood. These misunderstandings eventually caused applicants to have to wait to find out if they were eligible for benefits; New Jersey could not release payments until the worker clarified their answer. Multiple versions of changes, which ultimately included simplified questions, bigger text and answer buttons, and the introduction of helper text, were informed by user-testing with New Jersey workers and Unemployment Insurance applicants.
Additional re-wording of questions and answers will occur in the days and weeks ahead, reflecting a change in approach toward the widely proven method of agile software development, which introduces improvements continually. NJDOL will be learning and adjusting the experience for UI applicants over the next month. These changes represent a commitment to a new way of working, including the unique partnership with the federal government and the involvement of New Jerseyans in the process.