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General Services Administration

Dramatically simplifying Federal form function

The Challenge

The GSA’s Automated Advanced Acquisition Program is designed to connect commercial real estate holders who would like to lease space to federal agencies with federal managers responsible for finding space to lease. AAAP hired LookThink to redesign and optimize the user experience within the context of a migration to a new Salesforce platform, Force.com.

While web pages supporting the exchange existed previously online, they were extremely cumbersome and non-intuitive. The process required the real estate holder to complete a linear series of dense forms requiring a lot of detailed information – without the ability to save or manage input.

The result was user frustration at having to start and stop to find necessary information, only to then discover that the system had subsequently reset - wiping away previously entered data. Additionally, as GSA was moving to the Force.com platform, the project required a deep understanding of the capabilities and limitations of the Salesforce cloud and the proprietary visualforce development language.

The Solution

LookThink inventoried and analyzed the existing forms in order to design a better user experience. This analysis served as the basis for determining how to avoid overwhelming users with massive forms. The team then developed a series of wireframes that incorporated many elegant means of managing the large numbers of required data fields.

LookThink then delivered GSA a clickable prototype – enabling them to work collaboratively with GSA stakeholders and the development team to further refine the user experience. Perhaps most importantly, because users had a unique set of credentials, LookThink created a way for users to easily start and stop, saving their progress.

LookThink’s work also included portal look and feel – styling the experience to be on par with common commercial real estate platforms. Requiring backwards compatibility with Internet Explorer 7 and above, the team created the necessary visual assets, HTML and CSS and then worked closely with the development team as they integrated LookThink’s code into the platform.

A page from the new GSA site focused on the operating cost of a specific building, with tables displaying information below.

The Result

The resulting portal provides both sets of stakeholders with superior usability within a polished interface that reinforces GSA’s image as a technologically savvy agency. Feedback from the commercial real estate community has been very positive, the number of users of the system has increased, and the form failure rate has dropped.

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