Serving at USDS: Crystal Yan

In this blog series, we share the stories of USDSers. Find out where they were before USDS, why they joined, the challenges they face, the impact of their work, what life post-USDS may be, and what they’ll miss most. Hope you enjoy meeting them!

Crystal Yan, She/Her, UX Researcher and Designer, U.S. Digital Service at Health and Human Services, from San Francisco

What’s your background?

My background is in UX research, UX design, and product management at technology startups. Prior to working in product and UX, I also held roles in corporate strategy, marketing, and sales.

What inspired you to join USDS?

I was inspired to join USDS by the stories of current and former USDSers. They spoke to how rewarding of an experience it is to use skills from the technology sector to make an impact on the way our government delivers critical services.

What has been your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge has been learning where there are rules and where we create our own. Working within the government overall, there are often legal policies I was less familiar with before I joined but working within USDS, there are often few rules and it’s up to us to not only carry out priorities, but set them in the first place.

How does your work make an impact?

My work focuses on uncovering insights through human centered design research with healthcare providers. Those insights drive product and policy decisions our team makes down the line to improve how we deliver healthcare to 55 million Medicare patients.

What do you want to do after USDS?

After USDS, I would like to continue to support organizations in making product and service decisions driven by human centered design. I am also interested in doing some more international work again.

What will you miss most about USDS?

What I’ll miss the most about USDS is the people. One unique characteristic of USDS is that people are hired for their ability to challenge the status quo. What that translates to once you have a room full of people like that is a team of people who are relentless about continuously learning, growing, and not only challenging our agency partners, but also each other.

The best of technology.
The best of government.
And we want you.

We’re looking for the most tenacious designers, software engineers, product managers, and more, who are committed to untangling, rewiring and redesigning critical government services. You’ll join a team of the most talented technologists from across the private sector and government.
If you have questions regarding employment with the U.S. Digital Service, please contact us at and visit

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