The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services redesigned its child support calculator in a clear, transparent and human way.
The co-design process was not “build it and they will come” development in which technology solutions are built in isolation. Instead of creating something for caseworkers, the department created it with them, using iterative development methods. And that made all the difference.
By exploring the calculator’s place within the larger customer service process, the department, working with its partners, surfaced underlying challenges and then designed solutions directly with those who use the calculator—and the parents they assist—in mind. This helped to take the stress away for caseworkers, make parents feel fairly treated, and establish the right amount of support for the children involved.
This article was originally published in the June 2016 edition of Policy & Practice.