A Dash of Iteration

The Next DACA Time Milestone

Our last product update, a little over a month ago, described the bare minimum we needed to validate a basic assumption about our software, namely that it could serve as a proxy for the process attorneys go through to compile a DACA application. Here’s our hypothesis again, in case you missed it:

DACA Time can reduce the need for legal assistance when completing DACA application forms.

I speculated that our hypothesis was wrong, and, you know what? It was. In fact, we’re still iterating over the questions to make sure they’re as comprehensive as they need to be. We’re getting closer with every piece of feedback and learning a tremendous amount along the way.

Here’s a sample of where we went wrong in our initial release and adjustments we’ve had to make between then and now:

  • We originally asked whether an applicant had entered the United States “without inspection”. What does that mean? We had to split this up into separate questions to cover several different entry scenarios.
  • The USCIS only allows for binary gender specification; we needed to clarify why the application only offers options for “male” and “female”.
  • Asking where someone entered the United States for the first time may be a challenge. What if they crossed the border in a desert or only know it was approximately close to some major metropolitan area?

We’ve refined wording, added explanations galore, and, quite frankly, there are still some sections that are confusing! But that’s what iteration is all about, and we’ll keep at it until we’ve validated our hypothesis.

That Interface Though…

The DACA Time interface: before (top) and after (bottom)

Something else we learned is that our initial UI was…shall we say…not entirely suited for what we jammed into it. It was well-suited for our initial purpose of getting the application questionnaire built out and in front of people, but its initial lack of polish rather quickly evolved into clunkiness.

The comparison above is a great example of why releasing early and often is important.

We knew at the outset that we wanted to include explanation text for some questions, but we didn’t count on how wordy those explanations might get. So much screen real estate was occupied by the explanations in some cases that even testing and validating changes to the questions was unwieldy.

An interface refresh later, and — like magic! — everything looks tidy and in its place. Not only is it easier to work with in general, but, in all honesty, it’s also much easier to ask for feedback on something that’s doesn’t hurt your eyes.

Interested in helping us test DACA Time? Leave a comment here or reach out to us on Facebook! We’d love to hear from you!