#10: Behind The Scenes: Designing a Government Website Used by Millions

In this episode, Ed Mullen (@edmullen) joins us to tell the story behind his work designing the new HealthCare.gov, a website used by millions of Americans to find health insurance.  Ed takes us back to how this amazing opportunity came about, then gives us a glimpse of what it was like to work inside a major government agency on designing a web property used by millions.

We talk about the planning and design process, usability testing, and the impact this project had on Ed’s work as a designer as well as Ed’s business and other projects.

Mentioned in this episode:

This episode’s soundtrack:

Band of Horses – Infinite Arms

Opening clip: “Dilly”
Closing track: “Laredo”


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  1. Adrian

    I enjoyed this a lot so thank you, the only suggestion I have is that Ed’s sound was a lot quieter than you twos so I had to keep adjusting the volume depending on who was talking.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Sara

    I was one of the govvies on the healthcare.gov project who got to work with Ed. His interest in the mission and passion for the work shone through every day. I felt very lucky that Macon (at the White House) and Todd (at HHS) had the vision to make it happen and hire him to develop the framework and the design of the site — it made a huge difference in so many ways. Thanks for giving him a platform to talk more about it!

    • Hey Sara, Thanks! I felt very fortunate to be entrusted with the role, and worked hard to make sure I lived up to all the ongoing work the “govvies” were doing. It was such an interesting opportunity for cross-pollination. Working with you and the others who really understand how health care and insurance works inside and out was amazing. None of the “content” that I was laying out is just “content”, it’s valuable information that people are making decisions based upon. So the fact that I could ask, “Wait, so what does this really mean? Is this the most important aspect or is that?” changes the way I worked. It’s the opposite of designing with “lorem ipsum”. All the best to you and the other govvies!

  3. Dave – Next time your in CO we should get some coffee!

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