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The Human-Centered Design Center of Excellence, known for its consumer-centric approach to problem-solving, offers holistic services to CMS, and specifically, to the CCSQ community. Recognizing the importance of understanding and addressing the intrinsic needs of customers, our HCD strategists work diligently to integrate empathy-driven methodologies into product, service, and policy design. Through consulting, training, workshopping and more, our team ensures that solutions not only meet business requirements but resonate deeply with customers, fostering meaningful connections and ensuring enhanced customer satisfaction. The team seeks to serve you by providing the following services:

We deliver a valuable consulting service that seeks to ingrain the principles of HCD throughout the organization and make it a core competency. The focus is on aligning customer needs with business decisions, enabling the swift delivery of significant solutions. 

Our consulting services primarily extend to operational support for ISG teams needing HCD resources, while also enhancing their HCD maturity. The consulting team comprises Senior Human-Centered Design Strategists with vast tactical expertise and practical knowledge in research and design fields. 

Our Consulting Domains: 

Design Evaluation: This systematic, expert review or Heuristic Evaluation of a product or service design against established usability principles helps identify potential usability issues. This process guides improvements, ensuring an optimized and customer-centric final product. 

Design Process: The service applies insights from research to shape your process in developing a visual representation of an experience, service, or policy. Through a range of design methods and activities, solutions are created to ensure that the product or service aligns with the needs and goals of the target customer. Common design methods encompass information architecture, prototyping, visual design, and instructional design. 

Office Hours: Our office hours are designed in a “lean coffee” format, where we explore HCD topics chosen by members of the community. 

Maturity Evaluation: HCD CoE helps evaluate the organization's maturity level in terms of the adoption and implementation of HCD. This involves a comprehensive assessment of current processes, workflows, tools, and the skill set of team members. The outcome of this evaluation allows organizations to understand their current state, identify gaps, and create an effective roadmap for enhancing their HCD maturity. 

Program Observation: Our team carries out detailed observation of your programs to enhance its HCD maturity. We attend your planning meetings and provide targeted guidance to integrate HCD best practices for the creation of customer-centric products and services. 

Research Process: Recognized as a cornerstone of HCD, research connects directly with the customer, enabling the evaluation and construction of experiences, services, or policies. We offer essential guidance and insights into government policies, such as the Paperwork Reduction Act, advise on best practices and research methods to arm your business with insight into their customers/users' needs and goals for your product or service. Some prevalent research methods include surveys, interviews, card sorting, and usability testing. 

The HCD CoE's consulting services aim to integrate the human-centered approach into operations, fostering a culture of empathy, and a commitment to addressing users' needs and goals in the design and delivery of services. 

Our HCD Playbook is a guide for research and design best practices at Center for Clinical Standards and Quality (CCSQ). This playbook offers a CCSQ-approved practices to applying human-centered design principles across the enterprise. Within this playbook, stakeholders will find practical guidance and tools that empower them to embrace customer-centered approaches. 

Topics of Guidance: 

  1. Accessibility 
  2. Community Onboarding & Offboarding 
  3. CMS Design System 
  4. Customer Satisfaction Surveys 
  5. Heuristic Evaluations 
  6. Research Volunteer List 
  7. HCD Maturity Model 
  8. HCD Tools 
  9. Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) 
  10. Privacy
  11. Research Communications  

The Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) is a federal law intended to ease the data reporting burden imposed by the government. The law pertains to data collection regardless of form or format (including digital, paper-based, and standardized interviews). The PRA governs most research and feedback collection mechanisms done by or on behalf of the federal government. Any federal agency requesting responses from the public is required to estimate the time and cost burden for citizens to respond and the burden on the federal agency to compile and synthesize the data. Authorizations for PRA approval of data collection come from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and PRA officers in each agency coordinate the effort. 

It is essential and mandatory that CCSQ comply with the PRA when applying human-centered design (HCD) processes and methodologies. However, the PRA should not limit HCD best practices to improve the customer experience.  

Our PRA Services: 

Generic Clearance: In July 2021, CCSQ's Information Systems Group (ISG) obtained OMB approval for an information collection request (ICR) titled "Generic Clearance for the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality IT Product and Support Teams (CMS-10706)" (OMB Control Number: 0938-1397)." This clearance is for the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality IT Product and Support Teams (CIPST) to leverage for specific information collections and includes the Fast-Track approval process. To learn more about the process of leveraging this generic clearance, visit our guide. 

Job Aids & Guides: We’ve developed several visual guides to help teams understand if PRA clearance is required for their HCD research. These tools can be found on our PRA page. 

Consulting: Our team stands ready to advise and offer support on the clearance process. This might include understanding if a clearance is required, or providing feedback on an information collection request. We facilitate collaboration with the Office of Strategic Operations & Regulatory Affairs (OSORA), who coordinates PRA efforts for the agency. 

Our team offers comprehensive and advanced trainings and events, intended to enrich the understanding and application of HCD principles throughout CCSQ. We aim to cultivate an HCD-centric community, encouraging continual learning and collaboration across CCSQ. 

Types of Training & Events: 

  1. CCSQ Training: We provide a wide catalog of training offerings open to all members of CCSQ that furnish attendees with the required knowledge and skills to effectively implement HCD principles, methods, and leadership skills. These trainings span a broad range of topics, from survey methodology and persona development, to  how to lead a mature HCD practice. The training caters to varying proficiency levels, offering valuable insights for both newcomers to HCD and seasoned practitioners. 
  2. Group-Based Training:  We gladly work with teams to develop a custom learning plan and provide group-based trainings to enable teams to learn together, fostering mutual understanding, and encouraging collaborative application of HCD principles in their work. The shared learning experience aids in building a strong, unified approach to implementing HCD practices. 
  3. Community of Practice Events: We regularly host Community of Practice events to provide a forum for practitioners to connect, exchange experiences, and learn from one another. They feature expert talks, panel discussions, case study presentations, and interactive workshops, promoting a culture of continuous learning and collaboration. 
  4. Onboarding: We provide HCD onboarding training to new team members, ensuring they can seamlessly blend into the organization's HCD processes. This includes a comprehensive introduction to the HCD CoE, an overview of how HCD adds value to the community, and practical guidance on incorporating HCD tools and resources in workflow tasks. 
  5. World Usability Day: Each year we host a World Usability Day conference, building off an international event promoting usability and customer-centered design practices. This event serves as an opportunity to increase awareness about HCD principles, showcase recent work, and engage with a wider audience on the significance of usability in product and service design. 

To view all upcoming trainings, click here

The HCD Center of Excellence provides a comprehensive suite of workshops and collaborative planning services to foster the design and development of customer-centric solutions. The services encompass an end-to-end approach to design and planning, aiming to address the unique needs and expectations of clients, users, and stakeholders. Workshops are intensive collaborative sessions used to solve problems and enable progress on a particular challenge throughout the design timeline. Workshops enable participants to come together for a concentrated time of idea generation and hands-on activities that allow them to achieve an actionable goal. 

Upon receiving a project request, an intake meeting is scheduled to understand the client's goals, timeframes, stakeholders, and other crucial project parameters. Based on these insights, the HCD CoE tailors a plan specifically for the client and develops materials for the workshop facilitation. 

Our Workshops: 

  1. Critique Workshops: This service ensures alignment of design decisions with user needs. It provides real-time, actionable feedback from users and stakeholders, facilitating continuous changes and improvements to solutions, and reinforcing the Lean/Agile sprint process. The workshops also help clarify team objectives and identify issues in the workflow. 
  2. Design Workshops: These workshops focus on the rapid generation and discussion of ideas among a diverse group of participants. They adapt to tight timelines and fast workflows and foster a culture of collaboration and buy-in. 
  3. Discovery Workshops: These workshops aim to communicate the current state of affairs and create consensus for milestones and plans. They are essential in understanding business requirements at the beginning of an initiative and in gathering existing knowledge from client or stakeholder teams. 
  4. Empathy Workshops: These workshops facilitate a broad team or stakeholders' understanding, empathy, and prioritization of user needs before designing a solution. They aid in building an empathic framework to discover, understand, and solve user and stakeholders' problems, thereby increasing emotional intelligence (EQ). 
  5. Prioritization Workshops: These workshops build consensus on what customers and stakeholders value most and prioritize them. They are particularly useful when there are too many competing priorities or when stakeholders are asking for too much, leading to scope creep or feature overload. 

The client plays a critical role in the workshops, providing a stakeholder plan for processing workshop data and collaborating on the action plan. Each workshop service is offered by request only, and interested clients are encouraged to contact the HCD CoE directly. 

Which services are best for me?

Although our services focus on all CCSQ groups, we especially recommend the following services for teams:

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Product Teams

  • Consulting
  • HCD Playbook
  • Paperwork Reduction Act Support
  • Workshops

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CCSQ Program & Policy Groups

  • Consulting
  • Training and Events
  • Workshops

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ISG & Leadership

  • Consulting
  • Paperwork Reduction Act Support
  • Workshops

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