For the last year, VA has been designing “in the open” the next generation of its digital interaction with Veterans. In November 2015, Vets.gov was released as a new way to connect to some of VA’s most popular services and transactions. Over the past year, Vets.gov has evolved to include new self-service functionality and tools.
As of Veterans Day 2016, Vets.gov includes 39 product features that improve Veteran online access to benefits including health care, education, employment and disability benefits. The ultimate goal for Vets.gov is to become the single, one-stop place to go to interact with VA — a self-service, transactional website for Veterans and those who care for them.
“We’ve gone from myriad of websites that all require different user names and passwords to one,” VA Secretary Bob McDonald shared recently in a podcast interview airing this Veterans Day. “It’s a great place to start, it’s a great place to plug in.”
Why the iterative approach? Vets.gov being developed incrementally to ensure that feedback from Veterans drives the design and features of the site. Rather than a full-scale launch at the outset, VA has found this incremental approach to be a better avenue for incorporating features that Veterans use. That’s also part of the MyVA vision is to provide our Veterans with a seamless, unified Veteran experience across the entire organization and throughout the country.
As we head into 2017, the Vets.gov website will continue to develop – or iterate – in the open. New content and functionality will be added week by week, with improvements based on what Veterans are telling us. You can track that progress via a public dashboard here.
Additionally, Vets.gov is designed so that all of its services are easily accessed on any mobile device. It has an easy-to-use interface and delivers information in a straightforward way, meaning it’s simple to navigate and easy to understand. It is also 508-compliant, bringing an improved user experience for visually impaired Veterans and other users.
Vets.gov is one more step in providing Veterans with the online tools they need to interact with VA, bringing the multiple websites you use to do things – such as applying for health or education benefits, getting career assistance or checking on your disability claim – into one place. Building Vets.gov is a process of constant refinement and improvement. The development team welcomes feedback on what you think about the website – be a part of helping create the digital experience you’ll use.